About the collection

Hello and welcome to the privilege research platform of the Austrian Patent Office!

Here you have the opportunity to find out about centuries-old inventions and gain interesting insights into the past. Click through our "Collections", where you will find collections of privileges that are particularly interesting and exciting.

Have fun browsing through our virtual portal. It opens the door to around 99,000 descriptions of inventions from the second half of the 19th century of the former Habsburg Monarchy. At that time, inventions were still protected by privileges - i.e. by monopoly rights issued by the Imperial and Royal Ministry of Commerce. Ministry of Trade.

With the founding of the Patent Office in 1899, the collection came into the possession of the Austrian Patent Office, where it slumbered for another 100 years.

In 1999, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Patent Office, the most important bibliographical data of the 99,000 privileges were entered into a database. For the first time, this provided an insight into the development of technology in the Habsburg Monarchy with its small and large inventions and whetted the appetite for more.

So we are pleased that today more than 95 % of the documents have already been digitised and the historical collection is accessible and searchable by the public in our virtual portal. Until now, the collection was known to only a few. Searching for documents was cumbersome and time-consuming. That is why we see it as a diamond in the rough - as a scarcely analysed source of technical, economic and social history for the area of the Danube Monarchy, its successor states and for all the countries involved.

The digital copies are available free of charge for scientific and private purposes.



Literature on our privilege collection can be found in our library catalogue.


The collection of invention privileges in the archive of the Vienna University of Technology

The collection of about 5,800 invention privileges in the archive of the TU Vienna dates from the
between 1800 and 1852. 

The holdings include privileges of technical innovations still known today, such as the ship's propeller by Joseph Ressel (1826), the specially shaped bentwood by the Thonet brothers (1842) or the lithograph by Alois Senefelder (1801).

Historical patents of other patent offices

ES - Web Histórico - a cooperation of the Spanish Patent and Trade Mark Office and the Autonomous University of Madrid 

FR - Trésors - the historical gallery of the French Patent Office


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