Patent numbeer dating
This guide explains how you can locate individual images or samples of these designs, known as ‘representations’, within our collection.
There is also advice on how to find other details about each design, including the identity of the copyright owners or ‘proprietors’ – usually the manufacturer or retailer rather than the designer.
Objects whose design has been registered should have a design number marked on them.
However, in the case of wallpaper and textiles, usually used in sections, the design number is unlikely to be visible.
If the object you are interested in has a diamond mark, you can use the mark to track down the registered design number and therefore the records themselves – see section 7 for more detail.
The British Library holds copies of the Official Journal of the Patent Office, published weekly since the mid-19th century.
The search methods that you can use depends very much on the date the design was registered and the parliamentary act applicable to its registration.
However, if you do not know which date or act apply to a particular design, all is not lost – for some designs from some years you can search using other details you may know about them.
Details of how an item worked – the mechanics of the design – were protected separately, by patents of invention (though patents did slip into the registered design records sometimes).
If you know or can find a registered design number you should be able to find the respective register entry or representation in our collection, though it will be easier for some than for others.
When searching with a design number, it makes sense to start a search in BT 43 and, if your design is a ‘useful’ design (see section 8) in BT 45, as the designs in these series appear in our catalogue in individual detail, each with its respective design number.
When a design was submitted for copyright protection, details were added to two different types of records: design registers and representation books.
Representations were drawings, paintings, photographs or samples of the design, such as wallpaper or textiles, submitted at the time of registration.