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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

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Goode on Commercial Law

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Inventions and Official Secrecy: A History of Secret Patents in the United Kingdom

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Tom H. O'DellEmeritus Reader, Imperial College, London

ISBN13: 9780198259428
ISBN: 0198259425
Published: December 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £83.00

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Secrets will always be a factor in the political life of any society, and it could be argued that none enjoy secrets, particularly Official Secrets, quite so much as the English. Inventions and Official Secrecy traces the little known history of UK legislation which permits the British Government to make Official Secrets of certain technical ideas submitted as patent applications, and thereby prohibit their publication. The story begins in the mid-nineteenth century, and introduces a number of interesting inventors, politicians, and civil servants, including Sir William Armstrong, Marconi, the Wright Brothers, Leo Szilard, Sir Barnes Wallis, Sir Christopher Cockerell, the Earl of Derby, Sir Harold Wilson, and the now forgotten civil servant Mr Clode, Solicitor to the War Office in the 1860s; it ends, as the thirty year rule demands, in the 1960s.;This book is intended for anyone interested in the history of invention and the role of law in protecting scientific disovery. Will be of particular interest to patent lawyers, to inventors and to engineers.