Dating british patent numbers

Registration protected the decorative elements of the design from being copied and manufactured without permission.

Details of how an item worked – the mechanics of the design – were protected by patents of invention.

Until 1839 there had been copyright protection for some textiles, but most areas of the decorative arts, such as glass, metalwork, ceramics and wallpapers, had no copyright protection at all.

This protects both collectors and the companies who registered the marks.

From the other numbers and letters we can work out the date of the registration.

Ornamental or decorative designs were registered for copyright under a series of Acts of Parliament (see table headings at section 6).

Patents had been awarded prior to this date – indeed Britain has a continuous history of patent regulation dating back at least as far as the fifteenth century; however, by the mid-nineteenth century the process of application had become extremely complicated.

This act consolidated patent scrutiny and awards into a single office serving the whole of the United Kingdom (where previously a petitioner had had to apply and pay fees to several offices, and to obtain separate patents for each of the UK's constituent nations).

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