Monday, February 10, 2014


The Earliest Patent-Law Known?

Phylarchus, quoted by Athenaeus 12.521 c-d (discussing a law supposedly passed by the citizens of Sybaris; tr. Charles Burton Gulick, with his footnote):
Again, if any caterer or cook invented a dish of his own which was especially choice, it was his privilege that no one else but the inventor himself should adopt the use of it before the lapse of a year, in order that the first man to invent a dish might possess the right of manufacture during that period, so as to encourage others to excel in eager competition with similar inventions.c

c The earliest patent-law known, Cichorius in Journ. f. Nationalökon., 1922, 46-48.
Journ. in the footnote is incorrect. The full, correct citation is C. Cichorius, "Ein Patentgesetz aus dem griechischen Altertum," Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik 118 (1922) 46-48.

The Greek:
εἰ δέ τις τῶν ὀψοποιῶν ἢ μαγείρων ἴδιον εὕροι βρῶμα καὶ περιττόν, ἐξουσίαν μὴ εἶναι χρήσασθαι τούτῳ ἕτερον πρὸ ἐνιαυτοῦ ἀλλ᾽ αὐτῷ τῷ εὑρόντι, τὸν χρόνον τοῦτον ὅπως ὁ πρῶτος εὑρὼν καὶ τὴν ἐργασίαν ἔχῃ, πρὸς τὸ τοὺς ἄλλους φιλοπονοῦντας αὑτοὺς ὑπερβάλλεσθαι τοῖς τοιούτοις.

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