IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/ehsrev/v72y2019i1p182-208.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Technology transfer via foreign patents in Germany, 1843–77

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander Donges
  • Felix Selgert

Abstract

This article analyses the spread of innovation in mid‐nineteenth‐century Germany using foreign patents as an indicator for technology transfer. It introduces a new dataset of over 1,400 patents granted in the Grand Duchy of Baden between 1843 and 1877. The data show that Baden's technology import via foreign patents from German and non‐German inventors was important. This technology transfer was broadly based, although technologies related to the textile and machine‐building industries are prominent in the data. The decision to file a patent in Baden was driven by competition and the risk of imitation. Using a gravity model with city‐level data, we find evidence that technology transfer through patents reflected existing trade links. The strong correlation between technologies filed by foreigners and domestic inventors provides further evidence that the risk of imitation fostered patent‐based technology transfer during the mid‐nineteenth century. Furthermore, we show that foreigners filed patents predominantly in industries that accounted for a high share of the workforce in Baden.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Donges & Felix Selgert, 2019. "Technology transfer via foreign patents in Germany, 1843–77," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 72(1), pages 182-208, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:72:y:2019:i:1:p:182-208
    DOI: 10.1111/ehr.12703
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12703
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1111/ehr.12703?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Burhop, Carsten, 2010. "The Transfer of Patents in Imperial Germany," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(4), pages 921-939, December.
    2. Richter, Ralf & Streb, Jochen, 2011. "Catching-Up and Falling Behind: Knowledge Spillover from American to German Machine Toolmakers," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1006-1031, December.
    3. Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790-1846," UCLA Economics Working Papers 499, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 2007. "Patenting, intellectual property rights and sectoral outputs in Industrial Revolution Britain, 1780-1851," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 139(2), pages 340-354, August.
    5. Petra Moser, 2005. "How Do Patent Laws Influence Innovation? Evidence from Nineteenth-Century World's Fairs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1214-1236, September.
    6. Burhop, Carsten & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2013. "The German Market for Patents during the “Second Industrialization,†1884–1913: A Gravity Approach," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 69-93, April.
    7. Ploeckl, Florian, 2013. "The internal impact of a customs union; Baden and the Zollverein," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 387-404.
    8. Tom Nicholas, 2011. "Independent invention during the rise of the corporate economy in Britain and Japan," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(3), pages 995-1023, August.
    9. Sullivan, Richard J., 1989. "England's Age of invention: The acceleration of patents and patentable invention during the industrial revolution," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 424-452, October.
    10. Alessandro Nuvolari & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Independent invention in Italy during the Liberal Age, 1861–1913," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 858-886, August.
    11. Patricio SÁIZ, 2012. "Social Networks of Innovation in the European Periphery : Exploring Independent versus Corporate Patents in Spain circa 1820-1939," Historical Social Research (Section 'Cliometrics'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 37(4), pages 348-369.
    12. Wolfgang Keller, 2002. "Geographic Localization of International Technology Diffusion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 120-142, March.
    13. Jochen Streb & Jörg Baten & Shuxi Yin, 2006. "Technological and geographical knowledge spillover in the German empire 1877–1918," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(2), pages 347-373, May.
    14. Ciccarelli, Carlo & Nuvolari, Alessandro, 2015. "Technical Change, Non-Tariff Barriers, and the Development of the Italian Locomotive Industry, 1850–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 860-888, September.
    15. Mokyr, Joel, 1992. "The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195074772, April.
    16. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1852," IAST Working Papers 14-07, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    17. Bottomley,Sean, 2014. "The British Patent System during the Industrial Revolution 1700–1852," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107058293, June.
    18. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790–1846," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 813-850, December.
    19. Sullivan, Richard J., 1990. "The Revolution of Ideas: Widespread Patenting and Invention During the English Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(2), pages 349-362, June.
    20. Fremdling, Rainer, 1977. "Railroads and German Economic Growth: A Leading Sector Analysis with a Comparison to the United States and Great Britain," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 583-604, September.
    21. Wolf, Nikolaus, 2009. "Was Germany Ever United? Evidence from Intra- and International Trade, 1885–1933," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 846-881, September.
    22. Wilkins, Mira, 1974. "The Role of Private Business in the International Diffusion of Technology," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 166-188, March.
    23. Bottazzi, Laura & Peri, Giovanni, 2003. "Innovation and spillovers in regions: Evidence from European patent data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 687-710, August.
    24. Moser, Petra, 2011. "Do Patents Weaken the Localization of Innovations? Evidence from World's Fairs," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 363-382, June.
    25. Saiz, Patricio, 2012. "Social Networks of Innovation in the European Periphery. Exploring Independent versus Corporate Patents in Spain circa 1820-1939," Working Papers in Economic History 2012/01, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
    26. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700–1852," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 48-63.
    27. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Naomi R. Lamoreaux, 2001. "Market Trade in Patents and the Rise of a Class of Specialized Inventors in the 19th-Century United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 39-44, May.
    28. Khan, B. Zorina, 2013. "Selling Ideas: An International Perspective on Patenting and Markets for Technological Innovations, 1790–1930," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(1), pages 39-68, April.
    29. Francesco Cinnirella & Jochen Streb, 2017. "The role of human capital and innovation in economic development: evidence from post-Malthusian Prussia," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 193-227, June.
    30. Streb, Jochen & Wallusch, Jacek & Yin, Shuxi, 2007. "Knowledge spill-over from new to old industries: The case of German synthetic dyes and textiles (1878-1913)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 203-223, April.
    31. Petra Moser, 2012. "Innovation without Patents: Evidence from World's Fairs," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 43-74.
    32. Khan, B. Zorina, 2016. "Invisible Women: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Family Firms in Nineteenth-Century France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 163-195, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Billington, Stephen D. & Hanna, Alan J., 2018. "That's classified! Inventing a new patent taxonomy," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2018-06, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    2. Nuvolari, Alessandro & Tartari, Valentina & Tranchero, Matteo, 2021. "Patterns of innovation during the Industrial Revolution: A reappraisal using a composite indicator of patent quality," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    3. Andersson, David & Berger, Thor & Prawitz, Erik, 2020. "Making a Market: Infrastructure, Integration and the Rise of Innovation," Working Paper Series 1319, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    4. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700–1852," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 48-63.
    5. Francesco Cinnirella & Jochen Streb, 2017. "The role of human capital and innovation in economic development: evidence from post-Malthusian Prussia," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 193-227, June.
    6. B. Zorina Khan, 2014. "Of Time and Space: Technological Spillovers among Patents and Unpatented Innovations during Early U.S. Industrialization," NBER Working Papers 20732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Donges, Alexander & Selgert, Felix, 2019. "The Consequences of Radical Patent-Regime Change," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203662, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patents and the first industrial revolution in the United States, France and Britain, 1700-1850," IAST Working Papers 14-14, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    9. Giacomo Domini, 2019. "Exhibitions, patents, and innovation in the early twentieth century: evidence from the Turin 1911 International Exhibition," LEM Papers Series 2019/04, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    10. Mike W Peng & David Ahlstrom & Shawn M Carraher & Weilei (Stone) Shi, 2017. "An institution-based view of global IPR history," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 48(7), pages 893-907, September.
    11. Billington, Stephen D., 2018. ""War, what is it good for?": The industrial revolution!," QUCEH Working Paper Series 2018-12, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    12. Alessandro Nuvolari & Michelangelo Vasta, 2015. "Independent invention in Italy during the Liberal Age, 1861–1913," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 858-886, August.
    13. Francesco Cinnirella & Jochen Streb, 2013. "The Role of Human Capital and Innovation in Prussian Economic Development," CESifo Working Paper Series 4391, CESifo.
    14. Bottomley, Sean, 2014. "Patenting in England, Scotland and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1852," IAST Working Papers 14-07, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    15. Brunt, Liam & Lerner, Josh & Nicholas, Tom, 2011. "Inducement Prizes and Innovation," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 25/2011, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    16. Petra Moser & Tom Nicholas, 2013. "Prizes, Publicity and Patents: Non-Monetary Awards as a Mechanism to Encourage Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 763-788, September.
    17. Greasley, David & Oxley, Les, 2010. "Knowledge, natural resource abundance and economic development: Lessons from New Zealand 1861-1939," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 443-459, October.
    18. Petra Moser & Joerg Ohmstedt & Paul W. Rhode, 2018. "Patent Citations—An Analysis of Quality Differences and Citing Practices in Hybrid Corn," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(4), pages 1926-1940, April.
    19. Matthew Gibbons & Les Oxley, 2017. "New Perspectives on Patenting Activity in New Zealand 1860-1899," Working Papers in Economics 17/04, University of Waikato.
    20. Joerg Baten & Nicola Bianchi & Petra Moser, 2015. "Does Compulsory Licensing Discourage Invention? Evidence From German Patents After WWI," NBER Working Papers 21442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:72:y:2019:i:1:p:182-208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ehsukea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ehsukea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.