The first known use of the term intellectual property dates to 1769, when a piece published in the Monthly Review used the phrase. The first clear example of modern usage goes back as early as 1808, when it was used as a heading title in a collection of essays.
The German equivalent was used with the founding of the North German Confederation whose constitution granted legislative power over the protection of intellectual property (Schutz des geistigen Eigentums) to the confederation. When the administrative secretariats established by the Paris Convention (1883) and the Berne Convention (1886) merged in 1893, they located in Berne, and also adopted the term intellectual property in their new combined title, the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property.
The organization subsequently relocated to Geneva in 1960, and was succeeded in 1967 with the establishment of the World Intellectual Property Organization(WIPO) by treaty as an agency of the United Nations. According to Lemley, it was only at this point that the term really began to be used in the United States (which had not been a party to the Berne Convention), and it did not enter popular usage there until passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980.
“The history of patents does not begin with inventions, but rather with royal grants by Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) for monopoly privileges… Approximately 200 years after the end of Elizabeth’s reign, however, a patent represents a legal right obtained by an inventor providing for exclusive control over the production and sale of his mechanical or scientific invention… [demonstrating] the evolution of patents from royal prerogative to common-law doctrine.”
The term can be found used in an October 1845 Massachusetts Circuit Court ruling in the patent case Davoll et al. v. Brown., in which Justice Charles L. Woodbury wrote that “only in this way can we protect intellectual property, the labors of the mind, productions and interests are as much a man’s own…as the wheat he cultivates, or the flocks he rears.” The statement that “discoveries are…property” goes back earlier. Section 1 of the French law of 1791 stated, “All new discoveries are the property of the author; to assure the inventor the property and temporary enjoyment of his discovery, there shall be delivered to him a patent for five, ten or fifteen years.” In Europe, French author A. Nion mentioned propriété intellectuelle in his Droits civils des auteurs, artistes et inventeurs, published in 1846.