Abstract: The Historical Evolution of Trademark Legal Frameworks and Registration in Latin America: The Argentine Experience

Andrea Lluch


While business historians have paid a good deal of attention to the history of brands, less has been written on trademark history and laws. In this paper I intend to study these issues in Latin America, where business-historical interest in branding and trademarks has been negligible at best. To do so, I discuss the evolution of trademark laws and registration frameworks in Argentina until the mid-twentieth century. Argentina boasted one of the highest per-capita registration rates in the Americas, following the United States. In addition, I discuss the relationship between politics and trademark laws and practices, describing the state regulations introduced in the 1920s to mandate the use of a mark of origin (Argentina's Merchandise Identification Act (no. 11,275). The analysis of different regulations also reveals a growing link between economic nationalism and branding, reflecting the role of trademarks in developing economies (characterized by a high level of international marking). Indeed, it may be safe to argue that the period between the 1860s and the 1970s witnessed a transformation in the way in which trademarks were conceived (as property) and used (practices and perceptions). This paper relies on a variety of legal and business records to make up for the fact that there are no prior studies (except from an international trade perspective) and no complete official statistics for the period analyzed