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Is Silence Golden? Patents Versus Secrecy At The Firm Level

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  • Katrin Hussinger

Abstract

In the 1990s, patenting schemes changed in many respects: Upcoming new technologies accelerated the shift from price competition towards competition based on technical inventions, a worldwide surge in patenting took place, and the 'patent thicket' arose as a consequence of strategic patenting. This study analyzes the importance of patenting versus secrecy as an effective alternative to protect intellectual property (IP) in the inventions' market phase. The sales figure with new products is introduced as a new measure of the importance of IP protection tools among product innovating firms. Focusing on German manufacturing in 2000, it turns out that patents are an effective means to protect IP in the market, whereas secrecy seems to be rather important for inventions that are not yet commercialized.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Economics of Innovation and New Technology.

Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
Issue (Month): 8 ()
Pages: 735-752

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Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:15:y:2006:i:8:p:735-752

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Related research

Keywords: Innovation; Appropriation; Patents; Secrecy;

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References

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  1. Zvi Griliches & Jacques Mairesse, 1981. "Productivity and R and D at the Firm Level," NBER Working Papers 0826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Petr Hanel, 2008. "The Use Of Intellectual Property Rights And Innovation By Manufacturing Firms In Canada," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 285-309.
  3. Horstmann, Ignatius & MacDonald, Glenn M & Slivinski, Alan, 1985. "Patents as Information Transfer Mechanisms: To Patent or (Maybe) Not to Patent," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 837-58, October.
  4. Wesley M. Cohen & Richard R. Nelson & John P. Walsh, 2000. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)," NBER Working Papers 7552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Arundel, Anthony, 2001. "The relative effectiveness of patents and secrecy for appropriation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 611-624, April.
  6. Langinier, Corinne & Moschini, GianCarlo, 2002. "Economics of Patents: An Overview, The," Staff General Research Papers 2061, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Dirk Czarnitzki, 2005. "The Extent and Evolution of Productivity Deficiency in Eastern Germany," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 211-231, October.
  8. David D. Friedman & William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1991. "Some Economics of Trade Secret Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 61-72, Winter.
  9. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
  10. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
  11. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  12. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  13. Tandon, Pankaj, 1982. "Optimal Patents with Compulsory Licensing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 470-86, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Blind, Knut & Edler, Jakob & Frietsch, Rainer & Schmoch, Ulrich, 2006. "Motives to patent: Empirical evidence from Germany," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 655-672, June.
  2. Blind, Knut & Cremers, Katrin & Mueller, Elisabeth, 2008. "The influence of strategic patenting on companies' patent portfolios," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-013 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Catherine Beaudry, 2011. "Collaboration and contracting out versus funding and support – Impact on the propensity to patent of Canadian biotechnology firms 1999-2005," CIRANO Working Papers 2011s-62, CIRANO.
  4. Paul Belleflamme & Paul Bloch, 2013. "Dynamic Protection of Innovations through Patents and Trade Secrets," CESifo Working Paper Series 4486, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Amara, Nabil & Landry, Réjean & Traoré, Namatié, 2008. "Managing the protection of innovations in knowledge-intensive business services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1530-1547, October.
  6. Patrick Beschorner, 2008. "Optimal patent length and height," Empirica, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 233-240, July.
  7. Legros, Diego & Gallié, Emilie-Pauline, 2012. "French firms’ strategies for protecting their intellectual property," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5000, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. AndreÃŒÂs LoÃŒÂpez & Eugenia Orlicki, 2009. "Who Uses the Patent System in Developing Countries? A Study of Patent Propensities in Argentina, 1992-2001," Microeconomics Working Papers 22785, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  9. Antonelli, Cristiano & Teubal, Morris, 2008. "Venture Capital as a Mechanism for Knowledge Governance: New Markets and Innovation-Led Economic Growth," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200805, University of Turin.
  10. Delerue, Hélène & Lejeune, Albert, 2011. "Managerial secrecy and intellectual asset protection in SMEs: The role of institutional environment," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 130-142, June.

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