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Foreign Direct Investments and Intellectual Property Rights. International Intangible Assets in Spain circa 1820–1939

  • Saiz, Patricio


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

  • Castro, Rafael


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

In this paper, we reflect on the links between the origin and rate of foreign direct investments (FDI) and the granting of intellectual property rights (IPRs) to foreigners in Spain during the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. Our main hypothesis is that the two issues were strongly related during the extension of industrialization in Europe, although distinct interests and goals could have led to different investment and IPR strategies. This was true during the whole period studied, and especially after 1880, when the first globalization emerged, progressively favoring corporative transnational investments and international agreements on IPRs. During both centuries, foreign investors from several North Atlantic countries flooded the Spanish economy, taking thousands of patents and trademarks. Based on outstanding data on FDI and foreign IPRs in Spain, the scope of this complex relation is explored. In doing so, our hypothesis is confirmed and distinct international strategies and performances in the Spanish economy disentangled. Thus, our study provides a better understanding: 1) of the spread of international capitalism and multinationals, 2) of the competition among pioneers and first followers in the international markets, and 3) of the role of IPRs in that process. Our findings also shed light on the current debates regarding the relation of international investments and the protection of intangible assets in today’s global markets.

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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 2013/02.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uam:wpapeh:201302
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