The British Patent System and the Industrial Revolution 1700-1852

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The British Patent System during the Industrial Revolution 1700-1852 presents a fundamental reassessment of the contribution of patenting to British industrialisation during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It shows that despite the absence of legislative reform, the British patent system was continually evolving and responding to the needs of an industrialising economy. Inventors were able to obtain and enforce patent rights with relative ease. This placed Britain in an exceptional position. Until other countries began to enact patent laws in the 1790s, it was the only country where inventors were frequently able to appropriate returns from obtaining intellectual property rights, thus encouraging them to develop the new technology industrialisation required.

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