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Guy Fawkes’ Patent Bombshell

In England the 5th November commemorates the anniversary of the foiling of the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a shady group of conspirators came ever so close to assassinating King James I of England along with much of Parliament. As the man caught red handed in the act of stacking the gunpowder under the House of Lords in Westminster, Guy Fawkes’ effigy is burned every year on bonfires across the country for various reasons, many of which are now forgotten to firework toting revellers. Perhaps one of the lesser appreciated reasons to be thankful for the failure of the plot is that less than twenty years later that same Parliament went on to draft the Statute of Monopolies which formed the basis of patent laws for the UK, the European Patent Convention, as well as for many countries with historical links to Britain’s Imperial past including the USA, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand and much of the Commonwealth.