Patent Laws Go Back A Long, Long Way

Patent Laws Go Back A Long, Long Way

Many of us are familiar with patents. They are types of protections that give owners of intellectual property the legal right to exclude others from making, using, and selling an invention of ours for a limited period. In exchange, the invention is published and disclosed. The word patent or, more precisely, patere, in fact, means “to lay open” in Latin.

And, yes, the concept of patents goes way, way back. There is evidence suggesting something like patents were used among some ancient Greek cities, specifically Sybaris. The creator of a new recipe, for instance, was granted an exclusive right to make the food for one year.

The first statutory patent system, though, is generally regarded to be the Venetian Patent Statute of 1474. That’s when patents in the modern sense originated in Italy. At that time the Republic of Venice issued a decree by which new and inventive devices, once they had been put into practice, had to be communicated to the Republic to obtain the right to prevent others from using them, according to Listverse.

England followed with the Statute of Monopolies in 1623 under King James I, which declared that patents could only be granted for “projects of new invention.” Since then, of course, patents and laws surrounding patents have grown exponentially.

Make sure you do your homework if wading into the world of patents.

  Patents are types of protections that give owners of intellectual property the legal right to exclude others from making, using, and selling an invention of ours for a limited period.