Secrecy Versus Patents: Process Innovations and the Role of Uncertainty
AbstractWhilst firms often prefer secrecy to patents and process innovations particularly lend themselves to secrecy, we establish a rationale for process innovators who patent. Using a simple two-period model, we show that under myopic optimisation, the incentive to patent rather than pursue secrecy increases as the probability that the rival firm attaches to it being low-cost falls and as the proportion of the cost reduction due to the innovation, secured by the rival firm in the period after the patent has expired, falls. However, the gain to the innovating firm from patenting rather than secrecy strictly increases if the cost reduction due to the innovation is sufficiently small that the high-cost firm could profitably bluff that it is low-cost. Finally, allowing the low-cost firm the option of using an output signal in such cases, may make the patent strategy more or less attractive relative to the case of myopic optimisation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 18_12.
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Cournot Duopoly; Patenting; Secrecy; Uncertainty;
Other versions of this item:
- Tapan Biswas & Jolian McHardy, 2012. "Secrecy Versus Patents: Process Innovations and the Role of Uncertainty," Working Papers 2012006, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure and Pricing - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
- O12 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
- O34 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property Rights
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-06-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-INO-2012-06-25 (Innovation)
- NEP-IPR-2012-06-25 (Intellectual Property Rights)
- NEP-TID-2012-06-25 (Technology & Industrial Dynamics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Arundel, Anthony, 2001. "The relative effectiveness of patents and secrecy for appropriation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 611-624, April.
- Bonanno, Giacomo & Haworth, Barry, 1998. "Intensity of competition and the choice between product and process innovation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 495-510, July.
- 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.
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