Edited by Ryo Shimanami
Chapter 4: The future of IP in Europe
Clara Neppel, Berthold Rutz, Guy Carmichael, Konstantinos Karachalios, Shirin Elahi and Ciaran McGinley
Unlike many other ground-breaking inventions where it is often difficult or even impossible to tell where they actually originated, it can be said with some certainty that patents were invented in Europe, more precisely in Italy. The first patent letters (from the Latin word patere: to stand wide open) were issued in the city of Florence in the 14th century followed by the first written patent law in the State of Venice in 1474. However, the patent law of those days only roughly resembled today’s modern patent system. The state awarded a limited monopoly right to an artist or craftsman with the intention to attract foreign knowledge and know-how.
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