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New insights in patent history: an application of evolutionary theory

Chris Dent

Keywords: patents for invention; history; evolutionary theory; England

Inventions have been protected, in England, by patents since the sixteenth century. The patent system has undergone significant change since that time – in the nineteenth century, major legislative reforms were undertaken in the shadow of an abolitionist movement; and in the twentieth century, the system began to accommodate radical technological developments. This research applies insights from evolutionary theory, allowing a focus on the range of parties involved in the system and an acknowledgement of how these parties have changed as the system and society have developed.

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