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Intellectual Property and Technology Startups: What Entrepreneurs Tell Us

In: Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results


  • Stuart J. H. Graham
  • Ted S. Sichelman


This chapter provides evidence on how young technology startups are employing intellectual property (IP) protection when innovating and competing in the United States. Although researchers and teachers of university technology transfer often think only in terms of patents and the Bayh-Dole Act, this chapter suggests that adopting a more nuanced view of IP rights is appropriate. After reviewing the primary non-patent types of IP protection available in the U.S. (copyright, trademark, and trade secret), we explain that while patents are often considered the strongest protection, for some entrepreneurs – particularly those operating in the U.S. software and Internet sectors – patents may be the least important means of capturing value from innovation. We present evidence from the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey to demonstrate that IP is used by U.S. startups in very different ways, and to different effects, across technology sectors and other company-specific characteristics. Contrary to the common assumption in academic discourse, we show that different forms of IP protection often serve as complements, rather than substitutes.

Suggested Citation

  • Stuart J. H. Graham & Ted S. Sichelman, 2016. "Intellectual Property and Technology Startups: What Entrepreneurs Tell Us," Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth, in: Marie C. Thursby (ed.), Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results, volume 26, pages 163-199, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aseizz:s1048-473620160000026006

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    Cited by:

    1. María Dolores García-Gallo & Félix Jiménez-Naharro & Miguel Torres-García & Susan L. Giesecke & José Guadix-Martín, 2020. "Incorporation of the Intangibles into the Spanish Start-Ups by Activity Sector and Region. Improving Their Economic Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(10), pages 1-20, May.
    2. Del Sarto, Nicola & Isabelle, Diane A. & Di Minin, Alberto, 2020. "The role of accelerators in firm survival: An fsQCA analysis of Italian startups," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 90.


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