By David Pretel

This article studies the colonial patent systems during the 19th century. First, it shows the heterogeneity in the regulation and administrative practice of the colonial patent institutions in the various Atlantic empires, with particular attention to the case of Latin America. Second, it examines in detail the functioning and institutional evolution of the colonial patent system in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines. Between 1820 and 1860, this system was an imperfect institution, of a neo-mercantilist nature, controlled by the colonial corporations and that served as a collective space for the exchange of technological information. Third, it shows the reconfiguration of the patent system in the Spanish colonies during the last two decades of the 19th century, in a context of multilateral agreements and growing US influence.