Talk:Statute of Monopolies

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Good articleStatute of Monopolies has been listed as one of the Social sciences and society good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
September 23, 2010Good article nomineeListed


Does anyone know for certain whether this act was passed in 1623 or 1624? Both dates come up in a Google search. The UK Patent Office seems to think 1624 (See [1]) and I expect they would be as likely as anyone to know. The patent article (Early history of patents section) also has the date at 1624.

It's a bit confusing. The citation is (21 Jac. 1, c.3), which means Chapter 3 of the statute books, in the 21st year of the reign of James I. (Jac. is short for Jacobus, a Latinised James; hence also "jacobean", or "jacobites", later). The practice of identifying laws by their calendar year didn't come until substantially later; it was common to just cite the statute number for a long time, and the problem is that all these Wikipedia titles use the modern style...
The tricky part is that regnal years (as these are called) don't map very well to calendar years; they're counted from the date of the start of the reign. According to my Guide to Law Reports and Statutes, the regnal years of James I lasted from 24th March to 23rd March (Elizabeth had died on the 24th, you see, so logically he had become King the same day.). 21 Jac.1 is, therefore, the year from the 24th March 1623 to the 23rd March 1624.
Still with me? Good. 21 Jac. 1 c.3 could have been passed at any time between those dates; however, some googling throws me up statutes up to and including 21 Jac. 1 c.16, or c.27. It seems likely that the third entry on the statute books in that year will have happened comparatively early, and be in 1623 - remember, they're entered consecutively.
"...The Limitations Act 1623 (21 Jac 1, c 16)" is from a ruling by the Law Lords [2], but that's not conclusive. I guess it trumps the patent office, though ;-)
A quick summary of the situation as I understand it -
The correct way to give the year of the law is as 21 Jac. 1.
The most accurate translation of this into "modern" usage is 1623/4, but it can be interpreted either as 1623 or 1624 depending on how you approach it.
The calendar year during which this law was passed is probably unknown, without consulting original sources; it's not something that there would have been a pressing need to record correctly.
However, it was - on the balance of probabilities - probably passed during calendar year 1623.
Did I manage to make all that make sense? Shimgray 14:56, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
You did, just about. I'll go with the Law Lords too, I think. ;-) I guess I should go and change the date in the patent article. 16:09, 14 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Incidentally, I remembered I have access to the Lexis archives... they have it entered as 1623. (Pretty much all the text is missing, though, as having been repealed). Shimgray 00:18, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Huh. After all this... it seems the Statute Law Revision Act 1948 provided it with a short title, in this case as... [drumroll]... the Statute of Monopolies, 1623. So it's even a legally correct way to cite it, regardless of my bletherings :-) Shimgray 00:52, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

The Queen's Printer copy of the Statute Law Revision Act 1948 in "The Public General Acts and Church Assembly Measures of 1948", HMSO, 1948, volume II, has the short title of this Act as "The Statute of Monopolies" (i.e. the year is not included). James500 (talk) 10:37, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Expert knowledge[edit]

I have added some detail to the article but I am not a expert in the subject and am not confident that I have worded it accurately or covered the issues thoroughly. Input from an expert would be appreciated. PeterEastern (talk) 11:32, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

Reference for implicit repeal[edit]

The article, at the end, presently says that the Statute of Monopolies has been "implicitly repealed" and cites "Dent (2009) p.420" for this. I have looked at the PDF copy that is linked to from the article, and I cannot find any remark to the effect that the Statute of Monopolies has been implicitly repealed on page 420. James500 (talk) 16:28, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Sod, you're right. I must have got the citation confused or something :S.

"The statute repealed all past and future patents and monopolies, except those created in the future over completely novel inventions."[edit]

It is for those who assert that proposition to provide supporting references, if they can. They cannot, for it is plainly incorrect on the face of the Statute itself: sections 7-9. There is nothing even remotely controversial about this. Ttocserp 17:11, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes, and the supporting references have been provided; the statement is supported in the body of the article, with footnotes pointing to secondary sources. If you can point to different secondary sources that are more accurate, or the initial secondary sources have been misread, please point them out. Ironholds (talk) 14:25, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Would you be okay with compromising on "repealed all past and future patents and monopolies, except those created by statutes or future grants over completely novel inventions"? Ironholds (talk) 14:27, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Can you quote verbatim the passages in your references that, duly read in context, support the above-quoted headline?
As a separate point, you have reverted to the incorrect text of the original statute; the text in Wikisource, to which you have reverted, is in fact incomplete (and admits it is). Maybe a reading of the real text -- which is ready available in various sources, including the one I gave -- would help? Ttocserp 16:40, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Hey Ttocserp; the compromise above is just that, a compromise, intended for the lede. As you say, the current article is incorrect in not factoring in sections 7 to 9, which this attempts to do. If you have other suggestions for a compromise please do let me know. I did read the real text, specifically sections 7-9, as you pointed out, which is why both of us now agree this should be factored in. It might be useful to focus on that agreement and working out what the resulting section of the lede should look like rather than trying to score points off each other. Ironholds (talk) 12:56, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, but I am am reasonably familiar with the references cited in this Article and I believe none of them supports the proposition; further, it is actively contradicted by the Nachbar reference and, of course, the text of the Statute itself. Yet you have said that the references cited in the Article support it: to quote "the supporting references have been provided; the statement is supported in the body of the article, with footnotes pointing to secondary sources." It is only fair then to give you an opportunity to identify these passages. When we have identified the facts we can talk about compromise. Ttocserp 13:35, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't have any of them to hand right now; I wrote this article kind of a while ago, as you can see from the revision history if you've looked at it, and have since moved out of law and towards human-computer interaction research, as seen on my userpage. You disagree with which bit of the proposition, precisely? You haven't identified why the compromise line (which incorporates your excellent point about sections 7-9) is something you disagree with. Ironholds (talk) 15:15, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Err, with "The statute repealed all past and future patents and monopolies, except those created in the future over completely novel inventions." Ttocserp 16:07, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
Okay, you disagree with the entire thing. Very smart. why?
What's your intent here? Is it to make the article better, or to try and score points in a game nobody else is playing? It should be the former, but from where I'm sitting it looks a heck of a lot like the latter.
Rather than being pithy and twee, it would be very good if we could actually improve the article. For example, how would you choose to summarise "existing monopolies minus statute-based ones are eliminated"? Or do you disagree with that as a summary? What would be an appropriate summary? Ironholds (talk) 17:47, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm afraid you've assumed a proprietorial attitude to this Article, and hence have been unable to tolerate criticism of even a single sentence. It is not true, and you know it is not true, that "The statute repealed all past and future patents and monopolies, except those created in the future over completely novel inventions." The statute abolished some past and future patents and monopolies. Why this enormous resistance to saying so?
The Statute didn't even abolish monopolies over the press! (Imagine the Stuarts allowing a free press.) It didn't abolish what were the main monopolies at the time, which were exercised by guilds. (Even 150 years later, in Adam Smith's day, an English workman had no right to adopt a new trade in a town, or freely to move to a different town. That's why section 9 of the Statute was of colossal importance.) It didn't abolish the most important manufacturing monopolies of the day: in the Newcastle coal trade, in the munitions trade, in the glassmaking trade. In my time I have come across patents for markets (some of these still exist, and may even be valid); patents for Bibles; and even patents for theatres. That the Statute abolished only some monopolies, and then largely in theory, is trite to anybody who has studied the subject in any depth, and I've been studying it and writing on it for 40 years now. Yet you refuse to reconsider your materials because you have "moved out of law" and "don't have any of them to hand right now"! Isn't this a teeny bit presumptuous?
There are other areas in which the Article is in need of improvement, but I despair of communicating these to you in present circumstances. For example, in 1623 the word "monopoly" had a narrower meaning that it does today, so its real effect was less far-reaching than a reader would be led to believe. To Sir Edward Coke a "monopoly" meant a "bad" monopoly, which is why he declined to define the word in the Act despite being requested to do so -- it was for the judges to decide what was a monopoly in that sense.
What I do suggest is that we take some little time to cool off, then see if cooperation is possible. In the meantime I've made the minimum possible amendment to one sentence. Ttocserp 19:03, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
There is no enormous resistance to saying so? The draft phrase I gave recognised that this was the case. And I didn't refuse to consider my materials because I didn't have them to hand; I said I couldn't validate them because I didn't have them to hand. There's no presumption in acknowledging that I can't validate what I wrote waybackwhen right now and suggesting we collaborate on improvements - which is what I have been saying on this talkpage since something like my second message here.
Based on your message above, I agree that some cooling-off time is quite clearly needed. Ironholds (talk) 20:10, 26 January 2016 (UTC)