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Erfindung und Erfinder

Nature volume 74, pages 559560 (04 October 1906) | Download Citation



IN his opening chapter, Herr du Bois-Reymond gives an historical survey of the development of the Patent Laws in civilised countries. They date from the Act of Parliament passed in the year 1623, which in its first clause abolished the long-standing grievance known as monopolies, by which favoured individuals had the exclusive right to sell such things as salt and coal; the second clause established a new variety of monopoly, out of which patent rights had their origin. Little has been altered in principle since that date. Even down to the term of fourteen years the system still holds good, rights being granted to “any new manufactures.”Other countries, adopting the idea at much later dates, attempted a more formal definition of invention, and legal logic has constantly tried to define the admissible and the inadmissible. Herr du Bois-Reymond shows that in Germany, since the year 1889, the number of patents granted has varied between 29 per cent. and 45 per cent. of the number of applications filed, and, therefore, assuming the quality of the inventions to be on an average the same from year to year, it would seem that the official mind is not yet certain in its workings.

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