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Did patents of introduction encourage technology transfer? Long-term evidence from the Spanish innovation system

Listed author(s):
  • Patricio Sáiz


    (Departamento de Análisis Económico: Teoría Económica e Historia Económica, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Ctra. Colmenar, km. 15, 28049, Madrid, Spain)

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    In this article, we reflect on how patents of introduction or importation, which compose an institutional policy related to weak IPR systems, could influence long-term international technology transfer. Both theoretically and empirically, the consequences of strengthening IPRs in lagging economies for technology transfer and innovation remain unclear. Although the mainstream literature tends to link stronger patent enforcement with better invention and innovation markets now and in the past, new theoretical and historical evidence supports extreme complexity in the relationship between IPR extension and scope and technological diffusion. For the first time, in this study, we analyze a large series of patents of introduction, which were a common feature of the early stages of almost all patent systems designed to favor technology transfer and innovation above original inventor property rights. Though typically used by pioneers, followers, and latecomers, we know little of how they functioned and their consequences. In this study, we analyze the use of patents of introduction throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Spain, which was a lagging country on the European periphery. The results demonstrate that this institutional policy could facilitate technology transfer, innovation, and advancement at earlier stages of industrialization. As additional research has demonstrated, such evidence may have serious implications for IPR treatment in both developing and underdeveloped economies.

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    Article provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its journal Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 49-78

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    Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:8:y:2014:i:1:p:49-78
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