Patents as Scientific Information 1895-2020 (PASSIM)

Old fashioned light bulbs.

Presentation of the project

The primary focus in the PASSIM project is on exploring these different perspectives on the patent system, and also highlighting its role in creating the information infrastructure that shapes our lives today.

To find out more, read: A comprehensive presentation of the project and its results.

Click on the report to read.


A European Research Council Advanced Grant project 2017-2023

“Patents as Scientific Information, 1895-2020,” (PASSIM) ran between October 1, 2017, and June 30, 2023, and was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement ERC-AdG-741095).

PASSIM unpacked the multifaceted relationships featured in the patent bargain, recombined them in unexpected and creative ways and developed from that conceptualization a new narrative of patents and intellectual property. Anchored in historical knowledge but designed to accommodate interdisciplinary dialogue on theory and method, PASSIM considered patents in relations to past, present, and even future knowledge infrastructures.

Tracing the longue durée of the dynamics of scientific information from the end of the nineteenth century to the first decades of the twenty-first unveiled a hidden history of the networks of people, artifacts and money that shaped the current knowledge infrastructure into its present form. Transgressing the traditional divide between the natural sciences and the humanities, PASSIM delivered an innovative new framework for understanding of how information is disseminated and used (or not), within contemporary knowledge infrastructures.

A comprehensive presentation of the project and its results

The PI

PASSIM was led by Professor Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, a recognized scholar in the international field of interdisciplinary intellectual property research who has published widely on the history of international copyright and the history and theory of the intellectual commons. 

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén

Her latest book was Making Marie Curie: Intellectual Property and Celebrity Culture in an Age of Information (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Following the end of PASSIM she is currently embarking on a new book project on Champagne and intellectual property.

Photo credit: Anders Norderman



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  • (2023) Ph.D. dissertation. Isabelle Strömstedt, The Patent Office on Display: Intellectual Property in the Public Eye. Defense on September 22, 2023. Opponent: Megan Richardson, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. DOI: 10.3384/9789180752961
  • (2023) Article: Bellido, José and Björn Hammarfelt, “Patent Literature and the Emergence of the Information Industry in the Postwar Era.” Library and Information History 39 (3), forthcoming.
  • (2023) Article: Marc Stuhldreier, “The Gewirthian Needs-Based Hierarchy: A Concept for Prioritising Conflicting Norms in International Law.” Nordic Journal of Human Rights, online first, July 20,
  • (2023) Article: Hemmungs Wirtén, Eva. “Patents of Persuasion: Tempo-metrics and the Shaping of Knowledge About Knowledge.” Journal for the History of Knowledge, online first, July 5,
  • (2023) Article: Kang, Hyo Yoon. “Patents as Capitalist Aesthetic Forms.” Law and Critique, online first, June 26 10.1007/s10978-023-09349-2.
  • (2023) Article: Bellido, José. “Patents in Miniature: The Effects of Microfilm as an Information Technology, 1938-1968.” Technology and Culture 64 (2), pp. 407-433 DOI: 10.1353/tech.2023.0056
  • (2023) The fourth and final PASSIM workshop, “Patent Futures: A History.” Mundaneum, Mons, Belgium. April 26–28. Program (PDF bifogat som Final Program Mundaneum).
  • (2022) Symposium on Contemporary Issues in Global Studies: ‘Intellectual Property, Technology, Culture and Health’. Co-organized with Tema Culture and Society (Tema Q) and the Global Studies Program with external funding provided by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, September 12-13. Program.

  • (2022) Workshop participation: the PASSIM team will be at the 13th Annual Workshop of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP), “Machines of Law and Intellectual Property as Legal Machinery”, organized by the University of Gothenburg between June 20-22, 2022. 

  • (2022) PASSIM workshops two and three [back-to-back]. Workshop two: “Patents as Capital,” May 11-13, and “Patents in the Service of War and Peace”, May 16–18, 2022. Norrköping. Program (PDF).

  • (2022) Article: Gustav Källstrand, “Science by Nobel Committee: Decision-making and Norms of Scientific Practice in the Early Physics and Chemistry Prizes,” British Journal for the History of Science. Published online, May 23. DOI
  • (2022) Article: Martin Fredriksson, “Balancing Community Rights and National Interests in International Protection of Traditional Knowledge: a Study of India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library,” Third World Quarterly (43) 2, 352-370.

  • (2021) Article: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, “In the Service of Secrecy: An Enveloped History of Priority, Proof and Patents,” Journal of Material Culture (26) 3, 241-261.

  • (2021) Article: Martin Fredriksson, “India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library and the Politics of Patent Classifications,” Law and Critique.

  • (2021) Online Seminar, jointly arranged with ISHTP: “Cultural Heritage and IP”, Fiona Macmillan (Birkbeck) in conversation with Jose Bellido (Kent) and Kathy Bowrey (UNSW). Chair: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén. May 20.

  • (2021) Online Seminar, jointly arranged with ISHTP: “Patent Capital in the Covid-19 Pandemic”, Hyo Yoon Kang (PASSIM, Kent Law School) in conversation with Mario Biagioli (UCLA) and Javier Lezaun (Oxford). Chair: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén. May 4.

  • (2021) Online Seminar, jointly arranged with ISHTP: “Commodification of creativity”, Kathy Bowrey (UNSW) in conversation with Martin Fredriksson (PASSIM, LiU) and Brad Sherman (Uni of Queensland). Chair: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén.  April 22.

  • (2021) Article: Björn Hammarfelt, “Linking Science to Technology: the ‘Patent Paper Citation’ and the Rise of Patentometrics in the 1980s,” Journal of Documentation (77) 6, 1413-1429. DOI: 10.1108/JD-12-2020-0218

  • (2021) Article: Martin Fredriksson, “India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library and the Politics of Patent Classifications,” Law and Critique.

  • (2021) Conference participation: PASSIM-panel at the 2021 Annual Conference of The Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) on “Patents as Scientific Information: Four Translations.” November 20. The panel included PI Eva Hemmungs Wirtén as Chair, and presentations by José Bellido, Johanna Dahlin, Mattis Karlsson and Isabelle Strömstedt. Björn Hammarfelt also presented, but in the panel “The Nuances of Innovation II-Patents and Standards,” on November 19.

  • (2021) Online Workshop, “From Agencies to Patent Offices”, a collaboration with Fundación Elzaburu, Madrid. April 8.

  • (2020) Online Seminar: Annika Öhrner and Isabelle Strömstedt: Patents on Display and Methods of Exhibition Analysis, Norrköping/Online December 1 Info document (PDF). Video: 

  • (2020) 60% seminar for PASSIM Ph.D. candidate Isabelle Strömstedt, presenting her thesis, preliminarily entitled The Patent Office on Display: Intellectual Property in the Public Eye. Special reader: Associate Professor in International Legal History, Marianne Dahlén, Faculty of Law, Uppsala University. September 24, 13.15-15.00.  

  • (2019) PASSIM workshop one: ”Intellectual Property for the Un-discipline(d),” Norrköping, September 10-12.  Final program   Call for papers  Webcast: part 1, part 2

  • (2019) PASSIM Special Guest Seminar: Dr David Pretel, El Colegio de México, ”Empires of Useful Knowledge: Patents and Colonial Technology in the Atlantic World.” September 9. Flyer

  • (2019) Workshop paper: Isabelle Strömstedt, "Celebrating Patents:the Swedish Patent Office’s Jubilee Exhibition of 1941.” “Intellectual Property and the Visual,” the 11th annual workshop of The Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP), UTS, Sydney, July 4-6, 2019. Abstract

  • (2019) Workshop paper: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, "Evidence, Envelopped:Something on Proof, Priority and Patents (but not necessarily in that order),” “Intellectual Property and the Visual,” the 11th annual workshop of The Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP), UTS, Sydney, July 4-6, 2019. Abstract 

  • (2019) Workshop presentation: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, "Patents as Scientific Information, 1895-2020,” Patent Law and Scientific Information Workshop QUT Faculty of Law Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Program, Brisbane, 9 July 2019,

  • (2019) Webinar: José Bellido and Matts Lindström: Microfilm, Law and Scientific Information, Norrköping, May 7 Info document (PDF). Video:
  • (2019) Article: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, How patents became documents, or dreaming of technoscientific order, 1895-1937, Journal of Documentation 75 (3), pp. 577-592,

The team

Member in the team PASSIM.
Picture taken at Steningevik, June 16, 2023.

The PASSIM team

The PASSIM team consisted of, front row (left to right): Hyo Yoon Kang, Johanna Dahlin (holding Jesper Alkarp’s jersey), PI Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, Adam Bisno, Isabelle Strömstedt. Second row: José Bellido, Martin Fredriksson, Björn Hammarfelt. And finally, with raised hands, Gustav Källstrand, Mattis Karlsson, Marc Stuhldreier, Johan Larson Lindal.

Picture taken at Steningevik, June 16, 2023.

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