Working paper

Patents and the first industrial revolution in the United States, France and Britain, 1700-1850

Sean Bottomley


This paper surveys the recent historiography of three national patent systems during the period of the first industrial revolution – the United States, France and, in particular detail, Britain. The purpose of the paper is two-fold. First, to show in a comparative framework how the institutional parameters of a patent system influence inventive activity. Second, to show that patents can, under certain circumstances, provide a net benefit to society.

See also

Published in

IAST working paper, n. 14-14, 2014