Protecting Australian innovation for more than 130 years

Davies Collison Cave's history goes back more than 130 years to a time before  federation and the infancy of Australia’s innovation industries.

Charles and Arthur Collison: pioneers of Australian patent law

In 1878—the same year Samuel Morse sent the first public telegraph message “What hath God wrought!”—Charles Collison and John Conigrave established a patent agent business in Adelaide. Their practice probably included general commercial agency and land broking activities, as patent work alone would not have sustained them  at that time.

Conigrave left the practice in 1889 and Charles was later joined by his son, Arthur. Charles was instrumental in developing the first professional body of patent agents, The Australasian Institute of Patent Agents. Arthur was an original signatory to its Memorandum and Articles of Association and was later elected to three separate terms as president of the Institute.

Collison and Co in Melbourne: 1904

When the Australian Patent Office opened in Melbourne in 1904, Charles relocated to Melbourne and established  Collison & Co. in the South Australian Insurance building at 483 Collins Street. This original office is now part of a group heritage classification of four buildings, including the famous Rialto building.

Australia’s first trade mark: 1906

On 2 July 1906, the first day for registration of trade marks in Australia, Daisy Williams, a young employee of Collison & Co. Melbourne, queued outside the Patent Office in order to obtain Trade mark No. 1. Daisy remained an employee of the firm for 60 years.

Davies Collison: 1929 - 1991

Upon the death of Charles Collison in 1929, the Melbourne practice of Collison & Co. was acquired by Les Davies and the name was changed to Davies & Collison. That name remained unchanged for more than sixty years.

Davies Collison Cave: 1991

In 1991 the Sydney firm Arthur S. Cave was acquired from Stan Cave and Jim Siely and the present day Davies Collison Cave was born. The Sydney firm already had a rich heritage: Arthur Cave had purchased the 1882-founded firm of Fred Walsh in 1937.

Mr Davies

Les Davies became a towering figure in the patent attorney profession. Immediately after the Second World War, Les joined an international taskforce to investigate the German Patent Office records with a view to identifying and claiming valuable inventions as war reparations. He was awarded an OBE in 1965.

During the 1950s the firm became extremely busy as Les embarked on overseas travel and the economy grew rapidly. Ken Rimington, who was a  senior partner from 1959 to 1988, had  joined Les in 1947.

A Canberra office  opened in the late 1960s and was staffed by partner Gunveld Luksteins. Gunveld was extremely ambitious and brought a strong commercial focus to the firm, while successfully cultivating international relationships. Sadly, he died in a fishing accident in 1969.

A focus on staff: 2001 and beyond

Davies Collison Cave partners and staff have always been active in professional activities involving the education, regulation, academic support and leadership of the profession.  Partners hold presidential positions on local and international professional bodies and they have been appointed to Professional Standards Boards.

From the very beginning, the firm  has engaged partners and staff at the forefront of technology. From mechanical agricultural devices of the late 19th century, pre-war metal alloys and war-time gas generation innovations, to post-war plastics, pharmaceuticals and computer developments, through to modern day biotechnology. The patent practitioners have become ever-more qualified, to the point where new staff today have typically completed doctorates or post-doctoral studies.