French firms’ strategies for protecting their intellectual property
In attempting to protect their innovations, firms can choose from a range of mechanisms, which may be either non-statutory (trade secrets, design complexity, and lead-time advantage over competitors) or statutory (patent, design registration, trademark, copyright). Yet, little is known about how firms do actually make their choices from among these different appropriability mechanisms. The aim of this paper is to determine how French firms’ use of intellectual property protection mechanisms relates to the type of innovation, the characteristics of the market sector in which they operate, the firms’ characteristics, and their human resources strategies. Our empirical model draws on four French databases covering the period 2001–2004. Our results show that the choice of a means of protection matters and emerges out of a complex strategy. Our results also reveal that the different statutory and non-statutory means of protection are complementary within their own categories but hardly so between categories.
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