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Patent Law Research Guide

This guide covers the basic legal resources for United States Patent Law, including primary and secondary resources.

Primary Law

Historical antecedents to the American patent system include:

  • 1331 Letters of protection issued to John Kempe in England;
  • 1474 Patent Statute of Venice (established a "strong core" that subsequent patent systems built upon).
  • 1623  Statute of Monopolies, 21 Jac. 1, c. 3 (Eng).

The United States Constitution:  Article I Section 8. Clause 8 -- Intellectual Property Clause of the Constitution.  [Grants Congress the power] "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

  •  The first patent act was passed in 1790. There have been four important revisions or codifications since:  1793, 1836, 1870 and 1952.
  • The Patent Act of 1952 is the  
  • Amending Patent Act: Leahy-Smith America Invents Act ( Public Law 112-29).
    • Statutes at Large: 125 Stat. 284, 112 P.L. 29  (Popular names:  AIA, Patent Reform).​​​​​​​​ 
    • The Leahy-  Act