The attitude of judges to patents during the early phase of the industrial revolution in England (1750s - 1830s)
07 / 2002 - 01 / 2011
Given the present legal discussions caused by the advance of computer technology, it is of interest to examine the legal response prompted by the industrial revolution, grounded as that was on technological innovations. English legal history is chosen for this study because England was the forerunner in the process of industrialisation. The aim of this study is to chart the developments in English patent law during the earlier stages of the industrial revolution, and prior to the first major overhaul of the patent system realised by the Patent Act 1852. With the exception of the Statute of Monopolies 1624, the 1852 Act marks the first piece of legislation dealing with patents. In the preceding century, the period delineated for this study, all developments were made by case law decisions without government regulation.