The Colonial Dimension
This chapter studies the colonial dimension of the Spanish patent system during the nineteenth century. The first section explores the history of colonial patent institutions in the various Atlantic empires, with particular attention to the case of Latin America. The core of the chapter examines the regulation, administrative practices and technological culture of the imperfect patent system operating in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines between the 1820s and the 1860s. During the mid-nineteenth century, this neo-mercantilist institution served more as a system of technological information than as a means of protecting the rights of inventors, thereby reflecting the collective interests of colonial agrarian elites. The final part of the chapter traces the institutional reorganisation of the colonial patent system during the late nineteenth century, in a context of multilateral agreements and growing US influence.