Finnish patent database 1842-1940

The research project aims at creating a database with information on all patents granted in Finland between 1842 and 1940. Patents are useful data for approaching a wide range of questions in social science history including economic and industrial development, transnational relations and the movement of people and technology, history of industries or businesses. In Finland, the historical patent data has been previously only partially available. The project fills this gap and collects, combines, and enriches data from different historical sources into a uniform research database.

The database will consist of information about the patents and the related actors, and the links to the digital versions of the original patent records. The information includes the patent title, application and grant dates, technical classification (IPC); name, occupation, and residence of the patentees and the applicants; information about the patent agents. The database provides links to the original patent (published by Espacenet and the Finnish patent office), and to the scanned patent register books from 1874-1940. The patent register books have been digitised in the project in collaboration with the Finnish National Archives.

A sample patent register page

The project employs the database for researching different aspects of Finnish economic and technological development: patenting in Finland as part of the Nordic and European context, the role of human capital for economic development, the role of individuals and firms for patenting and innovation. The project aims at publishing an open access version of the database and welcomes collaboration with other national and international research projects concerning the patent data.

For more information about the database, please contact Jari Eloranta (, Matti La Mela ( or Olli Turunen (

Project team

Prof. Jari Eloranta, University of Helsinki

Dr. Matti La Mela, Uppsala University (visiting researcher)

Dr. Olli Turunen, University of Helsinki (post doc)

B. Soc. Sc. Lauri Heinonen, University of Helsinki

Project partners

The Swedish Patent database, Uppsala University (prof. Fredrik Tell)

Finnish Patent and Registration Office, PRH

National Archives of Finland


The project has received funding from Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation and the Faculty of Social Sciences (University of Helsinki).

Matti La Mela’s work has been funded by the Foundations’ Postdoc Pool (Eino Jutikkala Fund of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters; Finnish Cultural Foundation, SKR).

Berry picking machine

Patent no 4243, “berry-picking apparatus”, granted to Anders Wikstrand in November 1910.

Related publications

La Mela M. (2020). Hylätyt patentit vuosina 1864-1884: teollisuuspolitiikkaa, kopioita vai liian huimia ideoita? [Rejected patents in Finland, 1864-1884]. The Finnish Quarterly for the History of Technology Tekniikan Waiheita, 38 (3-4), 6–28.

Andersson D. E., La Mela M. (2020). Nordic Networks: Patent agents and the business of technology intermediation in Sweden and Finland, 1860-1910. Scandinavian Economic History Review, 68:1,

Turunen, O. (2017). Teknillisen korkeakoulun Innovaatiokeskus, 1998–2009: Yliopistojen tutkimus- ja innovaatiopalveluiden uranuurtaja Suomessa [The Innovation Center of the University of Technology, 1998-2009]. TIEDE + TEKNOLOGIA, no 1. Aalto University.

La Mela M. (2017). Patenttiagenttien tuntematon ryhmä 1800-luvun lopun Suomessa [The Unknown group of patent agents in late nineteenth-century Finland]. The Finnish Quarterly for the History of Technology Tekniikan Waiheita, 35 (3), 5–24.

Turunen, O. (2016). The Emergence of Intangible Capital: Human, Social, and Intellectual Capital in Nineteenth Century British, French, and German Economic Thought. PhD Thesis. University of Jyväskylä.

La Mela M. (2016). The Politics of property in a European periphery: The ownership of books, berries, and patents in the Grand Duchy of Finland 1850–1910. PhD Thesis. Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute, 7.11.2016.