The First UK Patent Firm

Carpmaels & Ransford has been shaping European intellectual property for over 200 years.

A unique heritage

The origins of Carpmaels & Ransford date back to 1776 when James Poole was appointed Clerk of Inventions with the Patent Office of the Attorney General in London.

Offering his services to inventors for the sum of 10 guineas, Poole acted as both public patent official and patent agent, to help people through the complex and frustrating process of obtaining a patent.

By the 1820s, Moses Poole, a barrister, had taken over from his father and the two Pooles developed a large and successful patent practice. In 1835, William Carpmael, an engineer and mechanical draughtsman, joined Moses in partnership and the firm of Poole & Carpmael was established at 4 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn. By the 1850s, Carpmael claimed to have “over half of the current enquiries for patents”.

Patent law

A strenuous and persistent advocate for patent reform, William Carpmael was instrumental in the passing of the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1852, bringing about a complete overhaul of the UK patent system and establishing the patent office as we know it today. The Act introduced a single UK patent, as well as a significant reduction in fees.

Early clients

The firm’s early clients included Marconi and Bayer, forerunners of the international clients that the firm represents today. In the 1960s, Johnson & Johnson and Allis Chalmer were introduced to the firm. In biotechnology, our pre-eminence is in large part due to our early involvement in the sector, prosecuting cases originating from the West Coast of the US. 

Industry leadership

Seven Carpmaels partners have been president of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys: William, Edward, Alfred and Maurice Carpmael, Robert Ransford, Chris Mercer and David Votier. In 1885, “Patent Laws of the World” was published, co-authored by Alfred and Edward Carpmael. Three Carpmaels partners have held the Presidency of the epi (European Patent Institute).

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