When was the first patent filed?

The first patent in the world was arguably granted in Florence, Italy to Filippo Brunelleschi in 1421 for a flat-keeled boat with paddle wheels for transporting heavy goods along rivers, christened “Il Badalone”.  Although vague by today’s standards, the document was enforced by intellectual property law to protect Brunelleschi’s invention for three years from unauthorised production, and thus qualifies as the world’s first patent.

“Il Badalone”, the boat design invented by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1421.

Later, in 1449, King Henry IV granted England’s first patent to a John of Utynam for the manufacturing of stained glass.  In 1790, the first U.S. patent was granted by President Washington for an improvement in the “making of Pot Ash and Pearl Ash by a new Apparatus and Process”.  Since these early times, millions of patents have been granted by patent offices around the world and remain a hugely important legislative document.