Financing Innovation: The Size and Structure of Markets for Technology in Sweden, 1885-1914

David E. Andersson and Fredrik Tell

We argue that historical markets for technology are best conceptualized as containing several different but linked submarkets for different ex-ante and ex-post transactions. We support our argument by using a new database containing all Swedish patents granted 1885-1914. Thirteen percent of all patents were transferred at least ones during their lifetime. A survival analysis of different transaction types show that ex-post transfer are associated with longer patent life than the average while ex-ante transfer are associated with shorter patent life. We argue that a possible explanation could be different incentives to engage in different parts of the market, especially licensing possibilities. We support this by offering a case study of patents being offered for sale or license in the journal of one of Sweden’s most important patent agencies.