For centuries, courts of law have been faced with the problem of determining what type of innovation is an appropriate subject matter for a patent. With each technical advance, the question of what is patentable - and what is not - must once again be determined by the courts. This book traces the development of a legal structure for patents for inventions during the earlier phase of the Industrial Revolution in England (1750s-1830s). The study charts the development of patent law by examining judicial decision-making in patent disputes in the late 18th century and early 19th century. The book's focus is on the attitude of judges to patents. It examines what factors judges may have taken into account in reaching their decisions and how these factors may have affected the molding of the legal concepts of patent law. The type of technology at issue may have changed since the 18th century, but the legal discussions these developments have engendered show some remarkable similarities to the discussions that were taking place in the courts during the Industrial Revolution. Additionally, the final chapter sets out recent legal discussions on the patentability of software. This book will be of interest to all those dealing with patent law and innovation.