The First Modern Patent
The Patent Act of Venice was the first attempt to register and protect their inventions. This is more significant that it may seem at first. The Republic of Venice covers a much larger region than the city located in modern day Italy. It includes the coast of Dalmatia which is part of Croatia.  They also rule over Korfu, Cyprus, parts of Ukraine and Russia. That doesn't include all the countries with which they have trading agreements. They also have a powerful (if diminishing) navy to enforce their regulations. At this time Venice sets the standard for the gold ducat (meaning "duke's coin") to the point where the single word "ducat" now means the coin from Venice.    
Plato and the Ethics of Translation
Latin is the language of scholars. The works of Plato are written in an ancient Greek no longer used except in Constantinople. With the fall of Constantinople those people have moved west and have fueled an interest in ancient Greek works once more. Marsilio Ficino [mar-SEE-lee-o Feh-CHEE-no] is an Italian priest who has been laboring long and hard to translate the works of Plato into Latin so that western scholars can study Plato once more. Although he has released partial translations before this time, this year he has finished his work and has unleashed it all on the world. 
Commerce Wars and the Sinking of the Lusitania
How the war started: The King of Denmark and Iceland prohibited trade between Iceland and any other nation. This created a lucrative smuggling business. Englishmen from the town of Lynn ran ships into Iceland and ports in Germany making good money against the law and incidentally murdering a governor and his family in Iceland. A fellow named Christian was upset by this illegal activity and attacked Lynn's shipping. (This was considered a perfectly reasonable thing to do at the time.) Christian gave fair warning to every town in England (except Lynn). The Hanseatic League (or Hansards) tipped off Christian to Lynn's activities and that snitching (not the murder nor smuggling, nor attacks on shipping) enraged King Edward the 4th and had the Hansards in England arrested. Thus began a war between the Hansards and the English. After four years of the Hansards kicking the backside of King Edward at sea, he finally signs a peace treaty, offering them ownership of the London Steelyard. A Hansard warehouse will be constructed in Lynn next year where the building will remain until the modern day.   
This Year in Wikipedia
Year 1474, Wikipedia.
- Alex Shrugged notes: Dalmatia is also the place were a particularly popular breed of dog comes from.
- Patent - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
- Republic of Venice - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
- Ducat - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 22 November 2014.
- Patentgesetz von Venedig. wolfgang-pfaller.de (2009). Retrieved on 21 November 2014. “"Among us live large and brilliant men who are capable of inventing ingenious devices and to discover; and more such men come in view of the size and power of our city every day from all over to us. Now, if provision would be made, that others who see the discovered devices and works of these men, they can not build and take the inventor's honor, then more men would use their talents would discover and build devices that are very useful and beneficial are for our community."”
- Software patent - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 23 November 2014.
- Generic drug - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 23 November 2014.
- Marsilio Ficino - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
- Greek language - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 24 November 2014.
- Treaty of Utrecht (1474) - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
- Anglo-Hanseatic War - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 21 November 2014.
- Salter, F. R. (January 1931). The Hanse, Cologne, and the Crisis of 1468. 3. Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society. pp. 93-101. Template:Citation/identifier. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2590626.
- RMS Lusitania - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 25 November 2014.
- United States declaration of war on Germany (1917) - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 25 November 2014.