Organising the System

  • David Pretel
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


This chapter looks at the broader social context in which patenting took place in Spain during the nineteenth century. The 1870s marked a pivotal moment in the organisation of innovative activity in Spain. From then on, a social infrastructure facilitating patenting developed around the patent office. A variety of agents—such as intermediaries, lawyers and consulting engineers—placed themselves at the centre of the Spanish institution that granted intellectual property rights, shaping it and adapting it to the conditions and requirements of a peripheral European economy. Meanwhile, specialised technical publications, including an array of patent journals, became the broader cultural infrastructure supporting patentees, companies and intermediaries that used the Spanish patent system.


Engineers Agents Intermediaries Technical press Patent journals 



Certain parts of this chapter appeared previously as an article in a 2012 edition of History of Technology (Vol. 31). This material, which initially had appeared in my doctoral thesis, has been substantially revised for the present chapter. I am grateful to Bloomsbury Academic (an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc) for the permission to reintroduce it here.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Pretel
    • 1
  1. 1.El Colegio de Mexico (COLMEX)Mexico CityMexico

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