The Activator, Volume 1, Number 8, May 1945 Page: 174
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174 THE ACTIVATOR May
vation that the rise of England to
a leading industrial and commer-
cial position was practically co-
incidental with the institution of
the practice of encouraging tech-
nologists and new industry to em-
igrate from Continental Europe
by granting patent monopolies.
Although the cases of England
and the United States show that a
progressive industrial system can
develop and exist under a sound
patent system, they do not of
themselves prove that the two go
hand in hand.
The beginning of the modern
systems for the protection of in-
tellectual property dates back to
the Renaissance. A fairly well de-
veloped patent system was initi-
ated in the free cities of Northern
Italy, particularly Venice, during
the fifteenth and sixteenth centu-
ries. With the encouragement of
the monopolistic privilege, new
industries of printing, glass mak-
ing, textile manufacture, etc.,
rapidly grew up in the Italian
cities. Opposition of the trade
guilds, brought about a de-
cline to the practice of granting
patents. Simultaneously, the
French Court under the insistence
of the French merchants began
the practice of granting patents
with the result that the technolo-
gists migrated to France. The tex-
tile industry of the Rhone Valley
is a reminder of this period. Italy
has never regained a prominent
The technologists soon found
the French system tied up with
Court intrigue and political fa-
vorites so that, upon the adop-
tion of the practice of granting
patents by England, the migration
continued on to the British Isles.
France has never recovered the
opportunity lost through the early
abuse of her patent system and the
concomitant religious prosecution
of her technologists of this same
Other interesting comparisons
are to be found in the coinciden-
tal period of German industrial
development and the establish-
ment of the German patent sys-
tem in 1879, and the industrial
position of little Switzerland with
a sound patent system as com-
compared with that of Holland
with her large, rich colonial em-
pire but no patent system until
It is interesting to note on the
other hand that no country recog-
nizing the right of the private
individual to ownership of tan-
gible property has ever occupied
an important scientific or indus-
trial position without a patent sys-
tem. Russia will be an interest-
ing study for the future as to
whether technology and industrial
development can be divorced
from the protection of patents.
The historical record would seem
to indicate, however, that some
types of property cannot be in-
dividually owned and still expect
"intellectual property" to develop
unprotected. The Russian sys-
tem still has to meet the test of
time and to show how technical
developments can flow across her
boundaries in peace time.
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American Chemical Society. Dallas/Fort Worth Section. The Activator, Volume 1, Number 8, May 1945, periodical, May 1945; [Dallas, Texas]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67672/m1/14/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .