16 September 2013Patents

UK reaches patent milestone

The UK has published its 2,500,000th patent marking a milestone in its intellectual property history.

The patent, ‘GB2500000’, was published on September 11 by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Filed by Liverpool John Moores University, the patent is for an invention called ‘microwave monitoring.’

According to its abstract, it provides “a method of gathering information from a subject comprising measuring at least one property of an electrically conductive textile at a microwave frequency.”

Hailing it as a “landmark figure,” the IPO said the UK’s patent history could be traced back to one of the country’s most famous monarchs, King Henry VI, around 500 years ago.

“The road to this landmark figure has been long, starting in the fifteenth century when the Crown granted monopolies to manufacturers and traders,” the IPO said on its website.

“Henry VI granted the earliest known English patent for invention to John of Utynam in 1449 which gave him a twenty year monopoly for a method of making stained glass.”

However, despite their long history, patents were not numbered until 1852, when the patent system was overhauled.

During the twentieth century many inventions can stake a claim to being some of the most important on a global scale.

One of these could be patent number GB222604 published on May 21 1924 under the title, "A system of transmitting views, portraits and scenes by telegraphy or wireless telegraphy," more commonly known today as television.

In more recent years numerous technological developments have come as a result of the system.

On July 5 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell using the process of nuclear transfer which led to the first British patent publication arising directly from this technology, number GB2318578, in 1998.

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