looking back in time about patents one wonder where they got their start. Perhaps unavailable to really know, it does seem that the UK has the earliest history dating back to circa 1500 !!! The earliest times were somewhat corrupted in who was granted what.
Not only that but there were monopoly/patent problems involved. However, that was finally dealt with and patents became set at 14 years. — the length of double apprenticeships as mentioned already.
However everyone wanted to get their fingers in the pie and again things got bogged down.
Thought you might like to read a brief piece by Charles Dickens ( well brief for him anyway )
A Poor Man's Tale of a Patent
It addresses in a humorous way the uphill battle it was then….
Later, improvemts helped spur on the indistrial revolution. Who knew whistles would be in there, but they are !!!!