This word, this concept, is naturally key to to the quantification and the qualification of much of our data, in terms of international comparison and otherwise. Linguistic usage, as internationally variable, enters into this. Matters of cognates and-or of direct translation are not always simple. A legally significant notation of a registered technological innovation is often, though not always, a “patent”, and per se patents, themselves, may be divided along various lines, technologically as well as administratively. The semantic peculiarities have more of an effect on our tracking of the administrative phenomena, than on our tracking of the technology involved. Fortunately, regardless of the official document type, in almost all cases the filing date will be on hand, and it will have had legal significance pertinent to the technology. We are focused on raw data, as we apprehend it via antique and modern sources. “Administrative culture”, varied internationally, has affected the a priori collation of said data. We are bearing this in mind.
- France - In our data, and elsewhere, the word “brevet” seems to directly translate as “patent”. The French also make use of the “Certificat d'addition”. These latter have seemingly equal legal status and we may see them as a “type of patent”. Indeed, a non-French patent may make reference to a French certificat d’addition, more particularly to its filing date, as if it were a “patent”. The original French documents, however, always include the number of the “parent patent”, in the center, in the usual place in which patent numbers are typically indicated. The new and auxilliary number specific to the “certificat d’addition” is noted on the side. Diagram pages vary, with some featuring the new and auxillary number specific to the “certificat d’addition”, and others only including that of the original “parent patent”. Antique French catalogue data mentions the filing date of the certificat d’addition, as well as that of the parent patent, but only gives the number of the parent patent. The new and auxillary number specific to the “certificat d’addition” is invariably a lower number than that of the parent, which is, again, also displayed as a number clearly relevant to the addition.
- Belgium - Here we have a case only partially analogous to the French. The French “certificat d’addition” could be seen as having its equivalent in the Belgian “perfectionnement”, in that the “perfectionnement” will always refer to another “brevet”, which we may call a “parent”. In the Belgian case, however, “brevets” themselves fall into types. A brevet will be an “invention”, or it will be a “perfectionnement”. Any brevet, including one of the “perfectionnement” variety, will have a number which falls nicely within the numerical patent order of the year in which it is filed, unlike the French “certificat d’addition”. Again, the analogous relation to the French “certificat d’addition” is only partial. The analogous relation is stronger in terms of technology than it is in terms of the nationally administrative numbering protocol. The relevance of the “invention” patent to the “perfectionnement” patent(s) is nevertheless quite strong. Indeed, when physically accessing patent originals, any and all folders containing “perfectionnement” patents will be found within the folder containing the original document of the parent “invention”. In early material we also see the “importation”, likewise a type of “brevet”, though not an “invention”. These last will of necessity and by definition refer to parent patents filed in other nations. This particular detail of administrative protocol seems to have tapered off somewhere along with the later data accessed via the RdBdI. There are still patents making reference to preceding non-Belgian parent patents of course. The use of “importation” as a formalized type of “brevet” seems to have tapered off.
- Germany (and Austria) - Here we have a case in which an alternative designation, that of the “Gebrauchsmuster”, is to be noted along with that which we more customarily think of as the “patent”. The “Gebrauchsmuster” was subjected to less extensive critical examination, by German standards, and offered less long-lived protection. Nevertheless, it is an official recognition of a registered and dated technological development. (This will greatly affect our numbers.)
- Great Britain - The British patent administrative system was fairly straightforward, with a few caveats. At during the period on which we a focused, patent numbers were recycled, if you will, from year to year, so that the year of a patent's application is not only good to know, but crucial in distinguishing various patents from others sharing the same number. The year is not incorporated into the “patent number”, per se, but it is displayed quite prominently, at the top of the original document first page, so that what we designate as Patent GB-1913-6764, for instance, will show on the original “No. 6764”, the crest of Great Britain, and “A.D. 1914”. The prominence of this display has to do with the re-use of numbers. This procedure differs from that of most other nations.
Great Britain also had patents which were “additions” to others, but, like Belgium, for instance, and unlike France, these were not treated as a “certificate of addition” document type, as such. The numbering fell into the normal ordering procedure.
- Cuba - Here we may have another interesting case, in terms of document type and ordering and international referencing. What we have designated as Patent CU-1909-8469 and Patent CU-1909-8470 have only been found by way of an antique catalogue. Reference is made exclusively to Swiss filing dates. Cuba definitely had its own per se patents. These two mentionned filings, or documentations, have numbers falling well outside the range of numbers otherwise displayed in either Cuban or Swiss pertaining to the same period, and these two are found within larges blocs of entries which all make reference to exclusively Swiss filing dates. We do not know the nature of any special Cuban-Swiss arrangement, or how this may specifically relate to the protocols of the Convention de Paris pour la protection de la propriété industrielle.