I raised this query in my bog post dated 19th February 2018 and VK Varun, Scientist from DSIR, Ministry of Science & Technology commented
During First Industrial Resolution, As per USPTO, 4695 patents were granted during 01/Jan/1790 to 31/12/1840 and its distribution is as follows:
1790-1800 ; 1801-1810 ; 1811-1820 ; 1821-1830 ; and 1831-1840 .
Thank u Varun. There were indeed many patents and this was discussed in the working paper: Patents and the first industrial revolution inSome interesting aspects:
Between 1660-1760, few patents were awarded in England; it was unusual for more than a dozen to be granted in any one year. number of patents increases rapidly so that in 1800, 96 patents were awarded and in 1850, 513. Out of 72 'superstar' inventors born between 1660 and 1830, 81% obtained at least one patent in the course of their careers.
Patent agents appeared in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. Agents offered an extremely valuable service; by 1849, virtually all inventors employed an agent (even if they resided in the capital).
International patents: In the 1820s, Britons obtained, at the very least, 170 patents in France (6.3 %) of the total awarded) and in the 1830s, 415 (7%) of the total awarded. Henry Bessemer worked on the problem of manufacturing cheap steel for ordnance production from 1850 to 1855 when he patented his method. He sold an exclusive licence to the Spanish for his steel converter for £5,000.
Patent infringement: Work on patent cases in the Court of Chancery between 1714 and 1758, shows that there were, at the very least, forty one cases instigated by patentees. The Court of Chancery offered patentees a variety of legal remedies – most importantly, injunctions.
Patent licensing : Between 1770 and 1845, around 30 percent of English patents were assigned in full and another 25 percent were either assigned in part and/or licensed as well. Many inventors licensed their patent. By selling a portion of the patent as part of a partnership agreement, inventors could obtain access to manufacturing plant and/or capital. Without sufficient capital, it is difficult to turn an invention to profit.
Many inventors made money : silk-winding machinery patented by Thomas Lombe in 1718 and worked in partnership with his half-brother John and his cousin William. Over the course of the patent term (1718-1732, Thomas made £80,000, and when he died in 1739, he was able to leave his family £120,000, a colossal fortune by the standards of the day.
All inventors did not make money : there were many inventors during the industrial revolution who failed to reap any rewards from their endeavours and ended their days in poverty – John Kay, James Hargreaves and Richard Trevithick to name but three. Moreover, Kay, Hargreaves and Trevithick all chose to patent their most important inventions (respectively, the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny and the first high-pressure steam locomotive), but to no avail.
Patenting is not a new subject, only we cannot continue to ignore them for 4th industrial revolution too. in Part 3 we will discuss about pitfalls of leap-frogging.