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Trade Secret vs. Broad Patent: The Role of Licensing

Author

Listed:
  • Cugno Franco

    (Università di Torino, Italy)

  • Ottoz Elisabetta

    (Università di Torino, Italy)

Abstract

We present a simple model wherein a patents regime is inferior to a trade secrets system, meaning that when private returns from innovation under the two regimes are the same, society will be better off if the innovator chooses not to patent. In our model, trade secret licensing is envisaged and the inferiority of patents depends on the lack of an independent invention defense in patent law, while such a defense currently exists in secrecy and copyright law. Thus, although secrecy is superior to patents, it is not superior to other types of formal intellectual property rights where independent invention is allowed (such as copyrighted software).

Suggested Citation

  • Cugno Franco & Ottoz Elisabetta, 2006. "Trade Secret vs. Broad Patent: The Role of Licensing," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 209-221, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:2:y:2006:i:2:n:3
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    Cited by:

    1. Ottoz, Elisabetta & Cugno, Franco, 2011. "Choosing the scope of trade secret law when secrets complement patents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 219-227.
    2. Crass, Dirk & Garcia Valero, Francisco & Pitton, Francesco & Rammer, Christian, 2016. "Protecting innovation through patents and trade secrets: Determinants and performance impacts for firms with a single innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-061, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2008. "Intellectual property rights and efficient firm organization," Economics Working Papers 1254, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2014.
    4. Antonelli Cristiano, 2012. "Compulsory licensing: the foundations of an institutional innovation," 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 201207, University of Turin.
    5. Bronwyn Hall & Christian Helmers & Mark Rogers & Vania Sena, 2014. "The Choice between Formal and Informal Intellectual Property: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 375-423, June.
    6. Cugno Franco & Ottoz Elisabetta, 2006. "Static Inefficiency of Compulsory Licensing: Quantity vs. Price Competition," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200606, University of Turin.

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