IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Patents of Introduction and the Spanish Innovation System

  • Saiz, Patricio


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

From a long-term perspective, technological innovation could have come from local or domestic inventive and research activity, or from the transfer of foreign technology. In reality either option produces similar effects and often it was a combination of both which drove the historical acceleration of the rhythm of innovation and expansion of industry. This was fundamental for Great Britain and its early followers, and even more so for the latecomers and the underdeveloped countries. Spain, for example, suffered from scientific, technological and industrial backwardness which impeded the implementation of a national research and development infrastructure capable of generating competitive inventive activity. However, the national innovation system was designed, from the 18th century onwards, to favour the transfer of technology and human capital from abroad and thus establish the basis of modern economic growth and the process of industrialization. In this paper we will reflect on the design of the Spanish Innovation System, especially in one of its institutional aspects (the patent system), in order to understand the real role and function of a curios legal process the “patent of introduction”, which in practice promoted and permitted anyone to protect foreign third-person technologies in order to implement them locally, providing they were not already established. Although this legal practice represents a very clear declaration of intentions concerning the innovation policy and despite its existence in other patent systems in lagging countries, economic and technology historians have paid little or no attention to the subject. Therefore it is unclear how patents of introduction functioned and what consequences they had on the innovation and industrialization processes, especially in underdeveloped countries such as Spain, which, incredibly, maintained this practice until joining the European Union in 1986. We will attempt to shed light on how patents of introduction were established and how they evolved, the role they played in the promotion of innovation, who used them and how, and the real impact they had. The conclusions point out that, as with protectionism as a commercial policy, forcing national processes of innovation that take advantage of foreign inventions with or without respecting the original inventors rights –as generally occurs with the transfer of technology from abroad- could have positive consequences on the industrialization processes as well as helping lagging countries such as Spain to catch up with modern societies.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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 2010/01.

in new window

Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uam:wpapeh:201001
Contact details of provider: Postal: Francisco Tomás y Valiente, 5, 28049 Madrid
Phone: +34.91.497.42.92
Fax: +34.91.497.69.30
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uam:wpapeh:201001. 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: (Patricio Sáiz)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.