The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
13 May 1986, the following members being present:

                    MM. C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                        G. SPERDUTI
                        J.A. FROWEIN
                        F. ERMACORA
                        E. BUSUTTIL
                        G. JÖRUNDSSON
                        S. TRECHSEL
                        B. KIERNAN
                        A. WEITZEL
                        J.C. SOYER
                        H.G. SCHERMERS
                        H. DANELIUS
                        G. BATLINER
                   Mrs  G.H. THUNE
                   Sir  Basil HALL

                    Mr. H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission


Having regard to Art. 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Art. 25);

Having regard to the application introduced on 26 June 1985 by
S.B. against the United Kingdom and registered on 1 July 1985
under file No. 11617/85;

Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of
Procedure of the Commission;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant is a United Kingdom citizen, born in 1954 and currently
detained at Frankland Prison in Durham.  He is represented before the
Commission by Messrs. Baker & Co., Solicitors, of Guildford. He is
currently serving a life sentence at Frankland Prison.

The applicant claims to have made a number of inventions, but
principally an invention comprising a radar reflecting balloon buoy
device, which provides a means for a person lost where a visual
sighting is made difficult to be seen at a great distance both on
radar and visually when within visual range.  The applicant
corresponded with a patent agent until 12 September 1983 and had,
indeed, submitted his papers to the Patent Office, a step which gave
twelve months' provisional protection for the invention.
On 12 September 1983 he was told by the Assistant Governor of the
prison at which he was then held that he would no longer be permitted
to correspond with the agent because the applicant was "attempting to
circumvent the prison rules relating to prisoners' activities".  The
applicant petitioned the Home Secretary to permit the agent to be
recognised as an approved visitor, with a view to protecting and
exploiting the applicant's device.

The next stage of the proceedings is not clear.  The applicant's
representatives state that initially no reply was received and the
judicial review proceedings were considered in the absence of a reply.
The opinion eventually received from counsel, however, refers to the
possibility of seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision of
the Home Office.

The applicant's representatives applied for legal aid on 5 March 1984,
and on 2 November 1984 emergency legal aid was granted, limited to the
taking of counsel's opinion.  Instructions were sent to counsel on
23 November 1984, and a full legal aid certificate, also limited to
the obtaining of counsel's opinion, was issued on 27 November 1984.
Counsel's advice concluded that orders for declaration and mandamus
would not lie, but that there was a possibility of obtaining an order
for certiorari to quash the refusal of the Home Office to permit the
applicant to communicate with the patent agent on the ground that an
application for a patent did not constitute a business activity.
Counsel's opinion was dated 20 March 1985.  According to the
applicant's representatives, a formal reply to the applicant's
petition was received by the applicant on 13 February 1985.  In that
note, the applicant was told that visits concerning the preparation
and filing of a patent application would be permitted,  but that no
attempt to exploit the patent commercially would be permitted.  The
note also stated that it was likely that a patent agent would be put
on the list of visitors under the approved visitors' scheme.

The applicant was asked if he approved the contents of the opinion of
counsel dated 20 March 1985, and he confirmed that he did. The
limitation on his legal aid certificate was not lifted, however, and
on 8 November 1985 the certificate was discharged.

The applicant alleges that as a result of the time taken to reach a
decision in his case, he lost his provisional patent protection and,
accordingly, sent all his documentation to the Open University for
such charitable use as they saw fit.

COMPLAINTS

The applicant alleges that the initial refusal of the Home Office to
permit the patent agent to be put on the applicant's list of approved
visitors constituted a violation of Articles 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11
(Art. 6, art. 8, art. 9, art. 10, art. 11) and that the refusal to
permit him to correspond with the patent agent while he was at Leeds
prison itself constituted a breach of Article 8 of the Convention
(Art. 8). The applicant alleges that the refusal to permit him to
exploit the patent commercially is contrary to Articles 8, 9, 10 and
11 of the Convention (Art. 8, art. 9, art. 10, art. 11).  The
applicant also alleges breaches of Articles 12 and 13 of the
Convention (Art. 12, art. 13).

THE LAW

1.      The applicant complains of a violation of Article 6 (Art. 6)
in respect of the initial refusal of the Home Office to permit the
patent agent to be put on the applicant's list of approved visitors.
An interference with the applicant's rights under Article 6 (Art. 6)
can only be established in this respect if it can be shown that the
refusal of access to a patent agent in some way "determined" the
applicant's civil rights.

The Commission recalls that it has already found that the registration
of a patent is an essentially administrative matter which falls
outside the scope of Article 6 of the Convention (Art. 6)
(No. 7830/77, Dec. 13.7.78, D.R. 14 p. 200) even though a patent
right, once granted, does fall to be considered as a civil right
within the meaning of Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention (Art. 6-1)
(cf. ibid. at 201).

It follows that the applicant's complaints in respect of Article 6
(Art. 6) in connection with the registration of his invention at the
Patent Office and access to the patent agent must be regarded as
incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention,
and must therefore be rejected under Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

2.      The applicant alleges a violation of Article 8 (Art. 8).

(i) As regards the registration of the invention at the Patent Office,
the Commission notes that the applicant was eventually allowed to have
the patent agent put on his list of approved visitors.  In this
respect, the Commission considers that any issues which may arise fall
to be discussed in connection with the applicant's right to respect
for his correspondence.  It is true that the applicant alleges that as
a result of the time taken to reach a decision, his provisional patent
protection expired, and he decided to send all his papers relating to
the invention to the Open University.    It is not, however, apparent
that the applicant made any efforts to have the decision in his case
speeded up, nor is it clear that the applicant would not have been
able to apply for registration of his invention at the Patent Office
if he had retained title to it instead of transferring it to the Open
University.

The Commission considers that the applicant's loss of potential patent
rights must be regarded as his own responsibility as it appears that
he took no steps to accelerate the proceedings (such as further
petitions, or letters from his solicitor to the Home Office).
Further, he sent the papers relating to the invention to the Open
University of his own accord when he could have retained them and
re-submitted his application for patent protection at a later date.

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 of the
Convention (Art. 27-2).

(ii)  As regards the eventual refusal of permission of access to a
patent agent for any exploitation of the invention, the Commission
considers that Article 8 (Art. 8) cannot be regarded as giving a right
to the commercial exploitation of an invention whilst in prison.

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention,
and must therefore be rejected under Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

3.      The applicant alleges a violation Article 9 of the Convention
(Art. 9), first in that the refusal to permit a patent agent to be put
on the applicant's list of approved visitors prevented him from
protecting his intellectual property and therefore constituted an
attack on his freedom of thought, and secondly, in that he was
prevented from exploiting his invention commercially.

Article 9 of the Convention (Art. 9) provides for the freedom of
thought, conscience and religion.  It does not purport to guarantee
rights of access to the Patent Register, and it is not concerned with
the protection of intellectual property.  Accordingly, it does not
guarantee a right to exploit commercially a patent registered in
accordance with the law.

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
incompatible ratione materiae  with the provisions of the Convention
and must therefore be rejected under Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

4.      The applicant alleges a violation of Article 10 of the
Convention (Art. 10) first, in that his right to freedom of expression
was denied by his inability to communicate with his patent agent, and
secondly in that he is unable to exploit his invention commercially.

(i) The Commission recalls that it has previously found that as
between Articles 8 and 10 of the Convention (Art. 8, art. 10), matters
concerning receipt of information by post fall to be considered under
Article 8 (Art. 8) rather than Article 10 (Art. 10) (No. 8383/78,
Dec. D.R. 17 p. 227; No. 8317/78, D.R. 20 p. 44 at p. 96).  The same
criteria apply in the present case to communications between the
applicant and his patent agent.

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 of the
Convention (Art. 27-2).

(ii) As to the applicant's inability commercially to exploit his
invention, the Commission cannot find anything in Article 10 (Art. 10)
which could lead to the conclusion that it guarantees a right for the
applicant in the present case to exploit his invention commercially.

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention
and must therefore be rejected under Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

5.      The applicant alleges a violation of Article 11 of the
Convention (Art. 11) in that his patent agent was not initially put on
his list of approved visitors, and in that he is now not permitted to
exploit his invention commercially.

Article 11 (Art. 11), however, is concerned with the right to form or
be affiliated with a group of persons or an organisation pursuing
particular aims.  It does not concern the right of prisoners to have
access to patent agents.  Nor does it guarantee the possibility to
exploit an invention commercially.

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention,
and must therefore be rejected under Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

6.      The applicant alleges a violation of Article 12 of the
Convention (Art. 12).  He states that, although a bachelor, if he were
to marry, then funds obtained by exploitation of his invention could
assist his rehabilitation.

Article 12 (Art. 12), however, concerns the right to marry.  It cannot
be interpreted to give a right to exploit commercially an invention
made by a person whilst in prison.

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention,
and must therefore be rejected under Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

7.      The applicant alleges a violation of Article 13 of the
Convention (Art. 13).

(i) To the extent that the applicant's complaints have been rejected
as being incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the
Convention, his complaints under Article 13 of the Convention
(Art. 13) also fall to be regarded as incompatible ratione materiae
with the provisions of the Convention, within the meaning of
Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

(ii) As to the remainder of the applicant's complaints, the Commission
recalls that in the case of Silver and Others (Eur. Court H.R.
Judgment of 25 March 1983), the Court found that to the extent that
the norms in question in that case were compatible with the provision
of the Convention in question, the aggregate of remedies available
satisfied the requirements of Article 13 (Art. 13).  That same
aggregate of remedies (comprising, inter alia, complaints to the
prison Governor and the Home Secretary, and application to the
domestic courts by way of judicial review) was available to the
applicant in the present case and the Commission therefore considers
sufficient remedies existed for the applicant to be able to secure
compliance with the provisions of Article 13 of the Convention
(Art. 13).

It follows that this part of the application must be regarded as
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 of the
Convention (Art. 27-2).

For these reasons, the Commission

DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE

Secretary to the Commission         President of the Commission

    (H. C. KRÜGER)                       (C. A. NØRGAARD)