To supplement the national collection of patent specifications the British Library also holds numerous official gazettes, abstracts, indexes and other publications. An exhaustive list of these is updated regularly.
Information on such items as books, non-official journals, court cases and other background material can be found using the links below.
We have hundreds of books on patents and other forms of industrial property, and smaller numbers on copyright. Although British material is particularly well-covered many books concern other countries. This material can be found using Explore the British Library on the Web, but please note that much is only available for reference in the Library.
Our collection of modern books in intellectual property is on open access near the enquiry desk in the Business & IP Centre - Floor 2 Reading Room, adjacent to the collection of periodicals on the same subject. Only books and journals published within the last 10 years are kept here with the rest being in reserve. A classified list of key textbooks is listed in the bibliography.
Stock from about 1930 is kept in the Reserve collection in the basement. This can be ordered by using Explore the British Library, which will indicate "Reserve" for these books. The catalogue lists science collections book stock published from 1968 onwards and can be keyword-searched. Older material is on the card indexes at the far end of Science - floor 2 or (pre 1930) in maroon catalogue volumes opposite the Science - floor 3 enquiry desk.
There is also a copy of the Union catalogue of intellectual property holdings in London libraries (Editors: John Adams and Lynne Mutti, Intellectual Property Institute. London: Butterworths, 1998) which is kept at the enquiry desk in Business & IP Centre - Floor 2.
Our book stock is arranged in the Reading Rooms by our own classification scheme, and is preceded by (B) for the book sequence. Some key classmarks are given below should you want to browse. Within many of these areas, the addition of "00" means intellectual property generally; "30", patents; "55", industrial designs; "60", trade marks; and "80", copyright. So (B) BF 55 means British designs. This is only a generalisation as some books cover more than one topic and will be placed elsewhere, so be prepared at the shelves to look back through the classes.
- BF British intellectual property
- BF 12 Business exploitation of intellectual property
- BF 46-482 Inventing and famous inventions
- BG-BH International intellectual property
- BG 30 European Patent Convention
- BG 303 Patent Cooperation Treaty
- BJ 25 Germany
- BK 00 Japan
- BL United States intellectual property
Besides the material kept in the main sequence in the Business & IP Centre - Floor 2 Reading Room, the area behind Patent Enquiry Desk has some quick reference books. These include Patents throughout the world, Trademarks throughout the world, Designs and utility models throughout the world, the "Dutch manual" (Manual for industrial property) and WIPO's World directory of sources of patent information. In this area there are also many indexes and lists of older material (pre 1852 in particular) and the editions of the British Patent Office's Manual of patent practice. This volume reprints the 1977 Patents Act with extensive commentary on how the laws are interpreted by the Patent Office.
Most of our collection of non-official journals in intellectual property is in the main periodical stock in the Reading Rooms in the classmarks BF to BN preceded by a (P). This is adjacent to the book collection near thePatent Enquiry Desk in Business & IP Centre - Floor 2. Only English-language periodical issues published in the last 10 years, plus recent issues of foreign-language journals, are kept there. Older material is at the Micawber Street store.
Each periodical is classified by our own classification scheme (see above), so that e.g. BF is British intellectual property. The class mark is followed by e.g. E(1) where E means English language and 1 the first periodical held in that class.
All our journals are catalogued on Explore the British Library.
Some of the more useful journals are listed in the bibliography.
The Legal journals index, kept at (A) BA 00 E(1), indexes many law journals including some kept in the British Library. The Science citation index service indexes a wide variety of journals and this would include for example articles on patenting genes in Nature or New Scientist. The service is available through the Web of Science (in the Reading Rooms Science - Floors 2 and 3).
All British Patent Office annual reports are kept in Business & IP Centre - Floor 2.
Intel, an in-house database, indexes many intellectual property journal articles. Ask to use it at the Patent Enquiry Desk or view some sample records from the database.
British statutes are available in the Business & IP Centre - Floor 2 Reading Room. Textbooks often have copies of relevant laws at the back.
Full sets of British Statutory Instruments (SIs) are held in the Social Sciences Reading Room. Additional separate sequences for patents, trade marks, designs and copyright from 1908 onwards (which, broadly speaking, spell out regulations and fees) are kept behind Patent Enquiry Desk. European intellectual property review, which is kept at (P) BH 00 E6, contains (every few months only) an updated list of relevant British statutory instruments at the back of the issue.
For statutes and SIs on the Web see the patents page, while the trade marks and designs pages include relevant material.
Important cases which are litigated in the courts are generally reported and this section explains about the published law report series for which we hold copies. The unpublished British transcripts of intellectual property cases are discussed in a subsequent section. There is a limited amount on the Internet: for web resources see our sites on patents or trade marks or designs.
- General law reports
- Intellectual property law reports
The British Library holds the standard law report series for which further information can be found in Explore the British Library. These include:
- All England Law Reports (All Eng LR), 1936- .
- Common Market Law Reports (CMLR), 1962- . Covers European Court of Justice cases.
- The Law reports, Chancery Division, 1900- .
- Weekly law reports (WLR), 1953- .
The British Library's holdings of published intellectual property law reports are given below. Despite their titles most cover patents, trade marks and designs, and many cover copyright. Entries which state "Business & IP Centre - Floor 2", rather than an exact shelf location, indicate that it is kept in the (unclassified) general run of patent materials.
- Burrell's Patent law reports, 1953-84. South African. (P) BN 50 (ZA4) E1
- Canadian Patent reporter (CPR), 1952 to date. (P) BM 00 E1
- EP Legal, 1978 to date. European Patent Convention cases on a compact disc available at Patent Enquiry Desk
- Fleet Street Reports (FSR), 1962 to date. Mainly British, some European cases. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
- Hayward's Patent Cases, 1600-1883. British patent cases only, reprinted and indexed in 11 volumes. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
- Industrial property law reporter, 1977 to date. Indian cases. (P) BK 25 (IN1) E1
- Intellectual property reports (IPR), 1983 to date. Mainly Australian, some South East Asian cases. (P) BH 05 E1
- New Zealand Intellectual property reports, 1967-87. (P) BH 00 (NZ1) E2
- Reports of Patent Cases... (RPC), 1884 to date. Mostly British, all aspects of intellectual property. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
- United States Patents Quarterly (USPQ), 1937 to date. (P) BL 05 E2
We hold some material on other countries such as France or Germany and further information can be obtained from Explore the British Library or from the enquiry desks.
- Law reports index, 1951- . Useful for all types of British litigation. (P) BA31 E3
- Hayward's Patent cases. 11 volumes. Reprints and indexes British patent cases to 1883. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
- Digest of the patent, design, trade mark and other cases [in RPC]. 3 vols, 1959. Indexes RPC, 1883-1955. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
- Industrial property citator, M. Fysh. Indexes Commonwealth cases, 1956-81. 1982. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
- Intellectual property citator 1982-96, M. Fysh. Indexes Commonwealth and European Patent Convention cases. 1997. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
- EP LEGAL. CD-ROM storing and indexing European Patent Convention cases. Business & IP Centre - Floor 2
Two series of transcripts of patent, trade mark and design decisions are held in Business & IP Centre - Floor 2. They date from 1970 and consist of transcripts of reasoned decisions given after hearings of industrial property cases by the relevant courts in the UK. The "C" or Court series is for cases dealt with principally by the Patents Court (a division of the High Court), the Court of Appeal, and the Patents County Court. This series also includes some copyright cases. The "O" or Office series is of cases dealt with by the Patent Office Court, which include requests for rights which were initially rejected by the Patent Office.
These cases are sometimes reported in such journals as CIPA as "O/324/00" meaning "O" series, 2000, no. 324. This follows the numeration given to them and will be recognised by us. The "C" series has a similar, duplicate numeration. Sometimes such references are preceded by "SRIS" which refers to our old name.
Copies of pamphlets, circulars, journal supplements and the like which give the text, translations into English or commentary on foreign intellectual property laws, rules conventions etc. are held in files stored in Basement 1. The files are arranged alphabetically by country in folders within boxes, with international treaty information kept in separate boxes. British information is not included.
The folders consist mostly of patent, trade mark and design laws but some copyright legislation, especially from 1995, is included. There can also be lists of patent agents; tables of fees; announcements of joining international agreements; and much other miscellaneous material. Material often dates back to the 1880s or occasionally earlier but coverage of the United States from before 1945 is poor.
The material is mainly kept in one or more folders for all the laws of the country, in rough date order, although some times an important country is divided into patents, designs etc. Much of the material is in English translation although French predominates for the 1950s and earlier.
The contents of each country file are listed at the beginning of each file.
The files continue to be added to from such sources as the law inserts in Industrial property and copyright and other sources. Although the collection can never be complete it is a useful source for contemporary or historical research into law.
The foreign law files are available by request at the Patent Enquiry Desk.
In addition to these foreign law files, there is a separate series of superseded sheets from several loose-leaf publications in industrial property at the same location. These are:
- Designs and utility models throughout the world
- ECLA (the European Patent Office's classification scheme)
- Manual of industrial property ("Dutch manual")
- Netherlands patent classification
- Patents throughout the world
- Trademarks throughout the world
- US manual of classification