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to 1799

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section heading icon     to 1799

This page highlights key events in intellectual property law and practice to 1799.

It covers -

It supplements the Intellectual Property guide page regarding Australia, and separate notes on Australian copyright decisions, patents, trademarks and designs.

Context is provided by the multi-page communications & media timeline on this site.

subsection heading icon     precursors

d103 Martial extends plagiario (kidnapper of slaves) to include textual appropriation

1266 the 'Bakers Marking Law' is earliest English law on trademarks

1363 mandatory use of assay and makers mark by English silversmiths

1451 Gutenberg uses press to print poem and Papal indulgences

1452 earliest UK litigation over merchant mark

1473 Venetian Patent Ordinance

1476 Caxton produces first book printed in English

1477 first handbill advertisement in England

1518 first English royal patent issued to a printer

1521 Cambridge University Press founded

1522 Luther's translation of New Testament published

1534 first Frankfurt Book Fair

1539 Pablos sets up press in Mexico City

1545 Venetian Council of Ten requires booksellers to document that publication is authorised by the author

subsection heading icon     monopolies

1557 monopoly on publishing granted by Mary I to the Stationers' Company

1559 Pope Paul IV issues Index of Forbidden Books

1564 printer John Sampson fined for breaching Stationers' monopoly

1595 Sidney's Defence of Poetry depicts texts as actions rather than things

1609 Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, world's first regular newspaper

1614 English Monopolies Act prohibits Crown's claiming absolute prerogative over existing publication

1617 Patent No. 1 granted to Rathburn & Burges for "Engraving and Printing Maps, Plans &c" is first numbered UK patent

1618 Southern v How case considered birth of commercial trademark law in England

1619 English Stationers' Court of Assistants requires permission from King's players for reproduction of their plays

1623 English Statute of Monopolies

1637 English Star Chamber orders that all published works be licensed, with registration by the Stationers' Company

1641 abolition of Star Chamber

1642 English Parliament revives restrictions to prevent "libelous, seditious or blasphemous" publications

1643 Humble Remonstrance of the Company of Stationers argues for regulation but is criticised by Milton's Areopagitica

1649 Milton's Eikonoklastes asserts the "human right" of authors to their own work

1662 English Licensing Act of 1662

1663 Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen, Europe's first magazine

1690 Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Second Treatise of Government situate knowledge within the individual rather than the community and argue that the work of one's body should be one's property ("the labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his")

1695 Licensing Act not renewed

1704 Daniel Defoe's An Essay on the Regulation of the Press.

subsection heading icon     Statute of Anne

1710 British Statute of Anne provides basis for copyright law in future Australian colonies, with a 14 year protection for authors

1726 d'Hericourt argues for perpetual book privileges for authors

1734 William Hogarth inspires UK Engraving Copyright Act

1751 mandatory use of signatures by Parisian furniture makers

1754 Samuel Johnson's letter to Lord Chesterfield

1759 Edward Young's Conjectures on Original Composition articulate romantic notion of genius

1760 Tonson v Collins in UK

1765 UK jurist William Blackstone defines literary property as analogous to real property

1769 Millar v Taylor in England - court of King's Bench rules that there is a common-law right in writing: literary property is perpetual

1772 first patent issued in England for coloured ink

1772 Friedrich Klopstock's Deutsche Gelehrtenrepublik calls for liberation of authors from publishers

1772 Gotthold Lessing's Live & Let Live articulates property rights in ideas

1773 Hinton v Donaldson in Scotland - Court of Sessions reaches the opposite decision to Millar v Taylor

subsection heading icon     Donaldson and Fichte

1774 English decision in Donaldson v Becket that copyright is limited rather than perpetual

1783 first copyright act in US encouraged by libertarian (and author) Thomas Paine

1787 first UK Design law

1787 US Constitution recognises IP

1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man embodies respect for creativity

1790 first US-wide copyright law provides protection only for US residents/citizens

1791 copyright collecting society for French composers founded by Beaumarchais in France but fails

1791 Johann Gottlieb Fichte's Proof of the Illegality of Reprinting argues for protection of expression rather than ideas per se

1791 Abbe Sieyes' Declaration of the Rights of Genius

1791 after disputes over sail-cloth marks, Thomas Jefferson recommends trademark legislation based on commerce clause of US Constitution

1793 French law specifies that works of living authors could not be performed in a public theatre without author's assent and that the heirs have same rights for five years after the author's death

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