The Patent Office on Display : Intellectual Property in the Public Eye

Sammanfattning: In 1941, the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) celebrated its fiftieth anniversary as an independent agency. The major event of this celebration was an exhibition at the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology titled Idé – Patent – Produkt. In this dissertation, I start from this exhibition to examine how it was used to promote the patent office and its viewpoints. This is done through a microhistorical study influenced by theoretical underpinning from narratology, storytelling, and material culture. The overarching research questions concerning what narratives were presented in the exhibition and how these narratives were present in the planning and displayed objects are answered by studying material from the archives of the Swedish Museum of Science and Technology and PRV.Studying the planning of the exhibition provides information about PRV's influence on the exhibition, the collaboration between museum representatives and PRV's exhibition committee, and how the exhibition was motivated when PRV sought funding. In my examination of the exhibition, I chose three objects - patents, uniforms, and inventions - that were especially interesting as representations of the materialization of the patent system. The exhibition committee used these objects to establish a narrative of PRV as a reliable, effective, and bureaucratic agency to counteract negative press reports. Museum staff used objects from the museum collection to establish PRV and the patent system as essential entities in the master narratives of the inventor and Swedish inventiveness. By studying Idé – Patent – Produkt, this dissertation contributes to the existing research on intellectual property by examining how the patent office used a celebration to exhibit the positive aspects of the patent system and defend it from critique.

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