Intangible Assets and Competitiveness in Spain: An Approach Based on Trademark Registration Data in Catalonia (1850-1946)
UAM Working Papers in Economic History, nº 01/2009, ISSN: 1885-6888
56 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2019 Last revised: 28 Jun 2021
Date Written: 2009
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.
Keywords: Intangible Assets, Trade Marks, Brands, Catalonia, Spain
JEL Classification: N80, N83, N84, M31, M37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation