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The case that launched a thousand writs, or all that is dross? Re-conceiving Darcy v Allen: the Case of Monopolies

FISHER, M; (2010) The case that launched a thousand writs, or all that is dross? Re-conceiving Darcy v Allen: the Case of Monopolies. Intellectual Property Quarterly , 4 pp. 356-372.

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Abstract

The case of Darcy v Allen is a, if not the, elder statesman of intellectual property law. Much of the case’s importance, indeed fame, is derived from Sir Edward Coke’s report of the decision, in which he explains not only the detailed reasons given in the court’s judgment, but which also brands the case The Case of Monopolies. In many respects, Coke’s report is treated as being the authoritative account of the decision, a decision that has been seen by many as a defining moment within the history of patent law. Plaudits heap praise upon it, and mark it out as perhaps commencing the history of the English patent system. Moreover, the case is still routinely referred to as authority for the proposition that monopolies are, and have always been, against the ancient and fundamental laws of the land. That monopoly is perceived as a ‘bad thing’ has much to blame on the decision in Darcy v Allen. However, as this paper explores, the foundation provided by Coke’s report of the decision may not be as sure-footed as it first appears.

Type: Article
Title: The case that launched a thousand writs, or all that is dross? Re-conceiving Darcy v Allen: the Case of Monopolies
Publisher version: http://www.sweetandmaxwell.co.uk/Catalogue/Product...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Law reports, Legal history, Monopolies, Patents
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1308996
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