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From Fighting Monopolies to Promoting Industry: Patent Laws and Innovation in Sweden 1819–1914

David Andersson () and Tell Fredrik ()
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Tell Fredrik: Uppsala University, Department of Business Studies, Box 513, S-751 20Uppsala, Sweden

Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, 2019, vol. 60, issue 1, 123-156

Abstract: In this essay, we trace the evolution of four different patent laws in Sweden; from the first Swedish law of privilegia exclusiva in 1819 to the country becoming only the third country in the world to introduce novelty searches into the law of 1884. We discuss the ensuing contemporary public debates surrounding new proposals for legislation, as well as discernible effects of new patent laws. From being mainly a question about the “tyranny of monopolies” in the early laws to being one of “life and death for Swedish industry” in the subsequent laws, we show how changes in patent legislation resulted in three different types of innovation; technological, market and organizational. The results show that although the early laws implied severe litigation problems and considerably shorter patent terms, an early market for technology emerged as legislation had clearly established that intellectual property could be sold, bought and inherited. Concurrently the law of 1856 created a market for patenting services and patent agencies by requiring the use of Swedish agents by foreign patentees. Finally, foreign patenting increased as restrictions on patentees being non-Swedish citizens were gradually phased out.

Keywords: patent laws; innovation; markets for technology; patent agencies; Sweden; Patentgesetze; Innovation; Märkte für Technologie; Patentagenten; Schweden (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O O O O O (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1515/jbwg-2019-0006

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