Davies Collison Cave's history can be traced back over 130 years, to a time before Australia’s federation and the infancy of Australia’s innovation industries.
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 patents work alone would not have sustained the practice at that time.
Conigrave left the practice in 1889 and Charles was later joined by his son, Arthur. Charles was instrumental in the development of 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.
When the Australian Patent Office opened in Melbourne in 1904, Charles relocated to Melbourne and established a branch practice of 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.
On 2nd 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.
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 over sixty years.
In 1991 the Sydney firm Arthur S. Cave—which itself dated back to 1937 when Arthur Cave purchased the firm of Fred Walsh that commenced in 1882—was acquired from Stan Cave and Jim Siely and the present day Davies Collison Cave was born.
Les Davies became a towering figure in the patent attorney profession—as patent agents later became known. 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 to become senior partner from 1959 to 1988, had previously joined Les in 1947.
A Canberra office of the firm was 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.
Davies & Collison, as it then was, became the first patent attorney firm to establish an associated law firm after partner, Des Ryan qualified in law.
Davies & Ryan specialized in intellectual property litigation and licensing matters. The law firm merged with De Boos & Associates in 1988 and was briefly, Davies Ryan De Boos, before changing its name, Davies Collison Cave Solicitors. In 2010 Davies Collison Cave Solicitors changed to Davies Collison Cave Law.
Des Ryan, became senior partner in 1988 and presided over a period when the number of partners increased significantly and the firm successfully addressed changing human relations and organizational matters. Keith Leslie, as senior partner from 1996 to the present day, has continued and built on those foundations.
In 1999 the Queensland Government commenced promoting biotechnological research, which provided the impetus for DCC to establish a Brisbane office in 1999. That office has become an important part of the network. A Newcastle representative office was also opened.
Davies Collison Cave partners and staff have always been active in professional activities involving the education and regulation of the profession, providing academic support and leadership in the preparation of submissions relating to the development of intellectual property legislation. Partners have accepted the presidency of local and international professional bodies and have been appointed to Professional Standards Boards.
Throughout the history of the firm it has engaged partners and staff at the forefront of technology: from the mechanical agricultural devices of the late 19th century, pre-war metal alloys, war-time gas generation innovations, post-war plastics and pharmaceuticals, computer developments through to modern day biotechnology. The patent practitioners have become ever more qualified to the point where new staff have typically completed doctorates or post-doctoral studies.
Important dates in the development of Davies Collison Cave have been:
|Year||In the world||At Davies Collison Cave|
|1878||Samuel Morse makes the first public demonstration of the electric telegraph.||Conigrave & Collison established in Adelaide|
|1879||Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent lighting to the public for the first time in Menlo Park, New Jersey.||Conigrave & Collison continues in Adelaide|
|1889||John McWilliam lays the foundations for modern pacemakers by proposing the use of electrical stimulation to maintain heart rhythm.||Conigrave & Collison is renamed to Collison and Co.|
|1904||Work begins on The Panama Canal. Women's suffrage is granted in the Australian state of Tasmania.||Collison & Co. Melbourne branch established|
|1929||The Wall Street Crash ushers in the ten years of Depression. Don Bradman makes his first Test Century, against England in Melbourne.||Davies & Collison renamed after the acquisition of the practice by Les Davies|
|1981||The first space shuttle, Columbia STS-1, launches from the Kennedy Space Center.||Davies & Ryan Solicitors established|
|1991||Tim Berners-Lee introduces the world’s first web browser.||Renamed Davies Collison Cave after the acquisition of the firm, Arthur S. Cave, Sydney|
|1996||Dolly the sheep, the first successful mammalian clone, is born.||Davies Ryan De Boos Solicitors renamed Davies Collison Cave Solicitors|
|2010||The world’s first synthetic living cell is created. The Australian Federal election results in the first hung parliament since the 1940s.||Davies Collison Cave Solicitors renamed Davies Collison Cave Law|