Non-currency counterfeiting 17th-18th centuries?

May 2019
218
Earth
Nowadays we have people turning out all sorts of counterfeit goods, from Gucci bags to electronics, and many countries have laws against trademark counterfeiting. What was the situation in Europe back in the early-modern era (1600s-1700s)? I am aware of currency counterfeiting during this period, but my question is more about guys turning out counterfeit goods. For example, making cheap quality furniture or jewellery with the forged mark of some master craftsman to pass it off as more valuable. Did any European countries during this era have laws against that? Was it even done much? Could the craftsman whose products were being faked take you to court if you were caught counterfeiting their products?
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,480
South of the barcodes
There werent really makers marks until standardisation in the 19th century.

If you were buying prestige furniture it was a small market so the people who needed to know already knew. Wedgewood was the first to capitalise on his own reputation by making top quality lines then lower cost lines sold under his name for the middle classes and the rest of the aspirational households.

There were plenty of carpenters out there who got hold of Chippendales pattern book and made furniture in his style, it was an accepted part of business.

The best example of fake brand names I can think of is even older than the 17th century. The best or at least most famous viking era sword maker was Ulfberht. The are an amazing number of Ulffbert, Alfbert and any other name you can think of cheap brand copies out there.
 
May 2019
218
Earth
There werent really makers marks until standardisation in the 19th century.
Are you sure? I'm pretty sure silversmiths at least would mark their stuff back then. This website has a whole list of silversmiths with examples of their makers marks (in addition to the usual proof/production markings). Here are a few with 18th century examples:
Paul De Lamerie
Thomas Bradbury & Sons Ltd silversmiths and their predecessors
W. & G. Sissons, silversmiths in Sheffield

Of course, silver is expensive in its own right, so I'm not saying silverware would have been a highly counterfeited product by criminals or imitators looking to make a profit...

This website has some examples of makers marks for pottery/porcelain that were dated to the 18th century:
Pottery & Porcelain Marks - Great Britain - Pg. 1 of 38
Pottery & Porcelain Marks - Great Britain - Pg. 18 of 38
 
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Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,897
Australia
Counterfeiting has been going on for a long time. One early medieval example is the above-mentioned Ulfberht swords. In ancient Rome there was big money to be made from counterfeiting imported wine. The first patent and trademark laws appear in Italy in the 14th century. If counterfeiting wasn't widespread, there would have been no need to introduce laws to deal with it. As soon as a craftsman makes a name for himself, there will be others seeking to illegitimately profit from that success.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,200
Sydney
Meissen porcelain ( often called Dresden "china" ) was an imitation of the Chinese product
 
May 2019
218
Earth
The first patent and trademark laws appear in Italy in the 14th century. If counterfeiting wasn't widespread, there would have been no need to introduce laws to deal with it. As soon as a craftsman makes a name for himself, there will be others seeking to illegitimately profit from that success.
So what laws were there against it in European countries during the 1600s-1700s?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,897
Australia
British 1623 “Statute of Monopolies” halted the granting of monopolies by the government. In addition, the act gave the “true and first inventor” of intellectual property a period of 14 years in which he would have exclusive control over his invention, subject to certain conditions.

British 1710 "Statute of Anne" granted an initial 14 year protection period and a possible 14 year renewal.

The earliest example I'm aware of is the Greek City-state of Sybaris in 500BC, which allowed a citizen to apply for a one-year patent for "any new refinement in luxury." Patent laws have been in place in various regions ever since.
 
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May 2019
218
Earth
British 1623 “Statute of Monopolies” halted the granting of monopolies by the government. In addition, the act gave the “true and first inventor” of intellectual property a period of 14 years in which he would have exclusive control over his invention, subject to certain conditions.

British 1710 "Statute of Anne" granted an initial 14 year protection period and a possible 14 year renewal.
Thanks for that! I'll see if I can find the text of those two...
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,495
Netherlands
Guilds did a lot of that. Iirc they also ensured some sort of trademark was on their exports, like beer and wine as the guild was responsible for the quality they didn't want others to claim their product.
 
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