James Watt: The steam engine and the commercialization of patents
Great Britain (GB) was the first country to undergo an Industrial Revolution (1760–1850) and, in consequence, the first where patents for inventions evolved from an occasional curiosity to a powerful commercial tool. It is argued that this paradigm shift was largely caused by the later development of the steam engine and especially the first patent of James Watt (1736–1819). Despite extensive litigation, this proved extremely lucrative and thereby convinced GB’s rapidly growing industry of the importance of strong patent protection.In an annex, the author notes that 2008 is the 200th anniversary of the demonstration of the first practical steam railway engine, Richard Trevithick’s ‘Catch me who can’ on a circular track in London.
Journal: World Patent Information - Volume 30, Issue 1, March 2008, Pages 53–58