25 years of Franks & Co

This month at Franks & Co we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Franks & Co has been privileged to have been a part of the creation of the history of intellectual property in Sheffield and the surrounding regions.

Since its creation, Franks & Co has expanded from its flagship office in Sheffield throughout the UK and now to Belgium with Franks & Co Europe, which we continue to represent our clients in the European Union through.

To mark this celebration, we pay homage to our Sheffield roots with a brief dive into the part Sheffield has played in the development of intellectual property.

Trade marks

Since at least the 17th Century, the City of Sheffield has been instrumental in developing and progressing intellectual property law in the United Kingdom and continues to do so to this day.

In the 1600s, the Hallamshire and Sheffield Cutlers started using and regulating trademarks to certify the quality and origin of their products. Their involvement in guaranteeing the origin of products continues to this day, as members of the Sheffield Defence Committee. The Sheffield Defence Committee, which also comprises the Sheffield City Council, and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, leads the defence of Sheffield’s outstanding reputation, for example through the regulation of the certification mark MADE IN SHEFFIELD to guarantee the quality of goods produced in the region.

Robert Jackson of Spear & Jackson Tool Manufacturers, a company operating out of Sheffield to this day, and Sheffield MP Arthur Roebuck gave evidence in the House of Commons leading towards the creation of the trade mark register in the mid-19th Century.


Sheffield and the surrounding regions have a rich history in manufacturing and innovation, with some major international inventions being created in and around the city, particularly during the industrial revolution.

Sheffield is well known as the Steel City due to its production of steel. Hadfields Limited of Helca, Sheffield, manufactured artillery shells with their patented “ERA” steel, being the largest manufacturing capacity in the world for projectiles in 1915. More recently, the region is noted for the Advanced Manufacturing Park, where the British Steel R&D team is based. British Steel was granted three patents for their descaler system in 2020, further demonstrating Sheffield’s role in the innovation of the global steel industry.

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