Patent — Exclusive patent right for an invention, utility model or industrial design. In theory, patents should contribute to inventive activity. In practice, obtaining a patent is an expensive and muddy process, and it is almost impossible for an inventor to go through all the bureaucratic and financial obstacles. The vast majority of patents are issued to large corporations that wage patent wars among themselves. Patent law affects the lives of most people to a lesser extent than copyright, but it increases the cost of technical progress and slow it down.
Patents are often criticized for the complex, corrupt system of issuing and revoking them. Especially harmful are software patents, that relate to algorithms and operating principles of programs. They are banned by the laws of most countries, but they do not excise the flow of people wishing to patent any mathematical operation and junk money for nothing.
The original meaning of patents was to encourage technological innovation and prevent the concealment of inventions as trade secrets. By the end of the Middle Ages, practically all production in Europe was concentrated in the hands of workshops, i.e., closed industrial corporations. A workshop is an organization for which the basic idea is an egalitarian principle. That is, all those entering the workshop (working in this area) should be able to compete with relatively identical weapons. If the manufacturer is allowed to introduce any improvements, the principle of “equality of arms” will necessarily be violated. Based on these considerations, the workshops are fighting against all new products, whatever they are. From the point of view of the workshop, the inventor is only a hindrance capable of destroying the complex system of the old organization, organized with great difficulty and bringing large profits to its members. The weak royal power, in its struggle with the noblemen, needed the support of the bourgeoisie (which was almost entirely clerical), but as the monarchies strengthened, the need for such support disappeared and, on the contrary, the bourgeoisie needed a considerable limitation. Initially, patents were issued by the king and were a monopoly granted to a specific person. And it should be noted that patent was issued at the request of the king, and the inventor could only try to attract attention. And only later the “privilege” gradually becomes the “right” of the inventor to a monopoly.
Patents in the modern sense of the word appeared in 1474 in the Republic of Venice. This year a decree was issued, according to which it was necessary to report on inventions implemented in practice to the republican authorities in order to prevent the use of inventions by others. The validity period of patent was 10 years.
In 1623 in England, the «Statute of Monopolies» was issued, according to which patents were granted for «projects of new inventions». The first US patent law (Patent Act) was published in 1790.
In 1812, the first general «Law on Privileges» first appeared in Russia, and in 1830, the law of March 30 established the basic concepts of patent law.
By materials: www.anticopyright.ru