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Intangible assets and competitiveness in Spain: an approach based on trademark registration data in Catalonia (1850-1946)

  • Sáiz, Patricio

    ()

    (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

  • Fernández, Paloma

    ()

    (Universidad de Barcelona)

This paper studies the origins of trademark registration in Spain and offers, for the first time, data across sectors and regions with a long-term perspective. In apparent contradiction to the slow path of industrialization and the economic backwardness of Spain between 1850 and the 1940s, empirical evidence on trademark registration suggests that, in this field, Spanish policies and Spanish firms seemed to be well ahead of other countries. Spain was among the pioneering countries in the Western world in having a state legislation protecting brand registration since 1850. Also, some Spanish regions and industrialized sectors adopted similar strategies to those of its European counterparts in terms of using consistently branding and registered trademarks. Our evidence suggests that firms seem to have used brands and marks, first to fight against fraud and imitation and second to add intangible assets to its products in order to endow them with persistent identity trends regarding origins or quality of the product that were difficult to replicate, as often happened with patents. This created and accumulated, over that period of time, a marketing knowledge among consumers, which may have been useful to maintain the competitiveness of some industrial districts and regions.

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Paper provided by Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History) in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number 2009/01.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uam:wpapeh:200901
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  1. Schmalensee, Richard., 1980. "Product differentiation advantages of pioneering brands," Working papers 1140-80., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  2. Giovanni B. Ramello, 2006. "What'S In A Sign ? Trademark Law And Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(4), pages 547-565, 09.
  3. Ramon Ramon Munoz, 2010. "Product differentiation and entry barriers: Mediterranean export firms in the American markets for olive oil prior to World War II," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(3), pages 390-416.
  4. Pérez, Paloma Fernández & Raposo, Núria Puig, 2007. "Bonsais in a Wild Forest? A Historical Interpretation of the Longevity of Large Spanish Family Firms," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 459-497, January.
  5. Teresa da Silva Lopes & Mark Casson, 2007. "Entrepreneurship, Brands and the Development of Global Business," Working Papers 2, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  6. Nuria Puig, 2003. "The Search for Identity: Spanish Perfume in the International Market," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 90-118.
  7. Teresa da Silva Lopes, 2002. "Brands and the Evolution of Multinationals in Alcoholic Beverages," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 1-30.
  8. Jose Luis Garcia Ruiz, 2007. "Cultural resistance and the gradual emergence of modern marketing and retailing practices in Spain, 1950-1975," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(3), pages 367-384.
  9. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1987. "Trademark Law: An Economic Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 265-309, October.
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