Privatised Law Reform: A History of Patent Law through Private Legislation, 1620-1907  book cover
1st Edition

Privatised Law Reform: A History of Patent Law through Private Legislation, 1620-1907

ISBN 9780367593988
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
232 Pages

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Book Description

In the history of British patent law, the role of Parliament is often side-lined. This is largely due to the raft of failed or timid attempts at patent law reform. Yet there was another way of seeking change. By the end of the nineteenth century, private legislation had become a mechanism or testing ground for more general law reforms. The evolution of the law had essentially been privatised and was handled in the committee rooms in Westminster. This is known in relation to many great industrial movements such as the creating of railways, canals and roads, or political movements such as the powers and duties of local authorities, but it has thus far been largely ignored in the development of patent law. This book addresses this shortfall and examines how private legislation played an important role in the birth of modern patent law.

Table of Contents



Notes on sources

Table of cases

Tables of legislation

  1. A history of patents

  2. Private Bill procedure

  3. The beginnings

  4. The protection of inventions by enactment

  5. The non obstante clause and the right to work

  6. The restriction and regulation of company patents

  7. The specification and its concealment

  8. The prolongation of patents

  9. The grant of Parliamentary rewards: an alternative

  10. Restoration and renewal fees

  11. Re-dating and priority fights

  12. The end of private business


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Phillip Johnson is the Professor of Commercial Law at Cardiff University. His research interests include patent law, public law, and legal history. His publications include a leading practitioner text, the Modern Law of Patents (LexisNexis), and Parliament, Inventions and Patents: A Research Guide and Bibliography (Routledge).