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Royal declaration on privileges granted to inventors, Paris (1762)

Source: Bibliothèque nationale de France : Mss. Fr. 22073 n°72

Royal declaration on privileges granted to inventors, Paris (1762), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Chapter 1 Page 1



Concerning trade privileges.

                  24th December 1762.

      Louis, by the grace of God, King of France
and of Navarre. To all who read this declaration,
greetings.Trade privileges, whose purpose is to
reward the skills of inventors, or to stimulate
those skills which languish in a period of unmatched
competition, do not always have the success which
might be expected of them, either because these
privileges, granted for unlimited periods, seem to
be a hereditary patrimony rather than a personal
recompense for the inventor, or else because the
privilege can often be transferred to persons who
lack the necessary ability, or else because the
young successors and beneficiaries of the privilege
holder, called by the law to the enjoyment of the
privilege, neglect to acquire the necessary skills;
the failure to exercise these privileges can have
all the more disadvantages, since they undermine
freedom, without providing the public with the
resources which it should expect; finally the lack
of publicity of privilege title deeds often allows
the privilege holder to extend his right and abuse
the industry and skills of our subjects. FOR THESE
REASONS, and for others known to us, with our
certain knowledge, full power and royal authority,

Chapter 1 Page 2


We have, in this declaration signed in our own hand, declared,
ruled and ordered; we declare, rule, order, desire and are
pleased by that which follows.


      All trade privileges, which have already been or
which shall be granted to individuals, either in their
name alone or in the names of both themselves and their
Company, for fixed and limited periods, shall be implemented
according to their form and their terms until the end of the
period fixed by the concessionary clauses of the same.


      All the aforementioned privileges which have been or would
in future be indefinite and without a limited duration, shall
be and shall remain fixed and reduced to a duration of fifteen
years, to be counted from the date the concession was originally
granted, although privilege holders may still seek to have these
privileges prolonged if they have a reason to do so; however, we
do not intend to make any changes to concessions made by ourselves
which grant property rights, whether these be absolute, granted
as a fief, or in exchange for annual dues.


      Privileges whose title deeds of concession are not limited,
and whose duration is fixed by the previous article to a period
of fifteen years, and which expire either in the fourteenth year
or in the fifteenth year of their duration on the day of the
present declaration, will be prolonged for a further three years,
counting from the day of the publication of this declaration,
although the privilege holder may seek a further prolongation if
he has a reason for doing so.


      The privilege holder may, during his lifetime, transfer the
exercise of his privilege to his children or to his grandchildren;
but he may not

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transfer it to others without Our specific authorisation.


      In the event of the death of the privilege holder before
his privilege expires, his heirs, whether direct or collateral,
sole legatees, individuals, or other beneficiaries, may not
inherit these privileges, without having first obtained confirmation
from Ourselves, after having proved their capacity; notwithstanding
any clauses, of any nature, which may arise, whether in the deed of
concession, or in subsequent title deeds and acts, from which we
have expressly derogated by the present Declaration.


      All privileges which have been exercised without success by
their holders, or whose usage and exercise have been neglected for
a period of one year, as well as Rulings and letters patent, brevets
or other constitutive deeds of the aforementioned privileges, shall
be and shall remain null and revoked, unless the exercise of these
privileges has been suspended due to legitimate reasons or obstacles,
which the privilege holders will be required to justify.


      And in order that the aforementioned privileges might be known
to all those who might have an interest in them, we desire that after
the registration of the aforementioned privileges in our Courts, at
the request of our Public Prosecutors, there be sent a collated copy
of the same to the bailiwicks in the jurisdictions in which they must
be implemented. We give as an order to our dear and loyal Councillors,
the persons who hold our Court in the Parlement in Paris, that they
register these declarations, and that they keep and observe their
content, form and terms: FOR such is our pleasure. Bearing witness to
this, we have applied

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our seal to these declarations. Declared at Versailles the twenty-
fourth day of December of the year of grace seventeen hundred and
sixty-two, and the forty-eighth year of our reign. Signed,
LOUIS; and, below, by the king, Phelypeaux. And sealed with
the Great Seal in yellow wax.

      This has been registered, and in order that it be executed
according to its form and terms, the Royal Public Prosecutor has
the duty of ensuring that those persons who have obtained the
aforementioned privileges shall not be able to make use of them
until they have been read and published in the Conclusions of the
Royal Public Prosecutor, and sent to the bailiwicks in the
jurisdictions in which they must be implemented, and collated
copies must be sent to the bailiwicks and seneschals of the area,
that they might be read, published and registered there. The
Deputy of the Royal Public Prosecutor is enjoined to inform the
Court within a month of today's ruling.

At the Parlement in Paris, the sixteenth of March, seventeen
hundred and sixty-three.

                                                      Signed: Dufranc.


Published in Paris by P. G. Simon, Printer to the Parlement, rue
                              de la Harpe, à l'Hercule. 1763.

Translation by: Lydia Mulholland


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