IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

Big patents, small secrets: how firms protect inventions when R&D outcome is heterogeneous

  • Malte Mosel
Registered author(s):

    Patents have long been regarded as the ‘gold standard’ of intellectual property protection. In “Little patents and big secrets: managing intellectual property”, Anton and Yao (2004) call this traditional view into question by finding that firms keep their most important innovations secret. This model modifies key assumptions made by Anton and Yao by accounting for patenting costs, patentability standards, and the fact that patents provide protection in competitive situations where secrecy fails. The latter aspect counteracts the empirically substantiated fact that, in situations where both appropriation mechanisms are applicable, secrecy provides more protection. It is found that firms keep small inventions secret, use both mechanisms for medium inventions, and patent their most important innovations. This result reestablishes the traditional view that patents are crucial to provide R&D incentives and is yet consistent with main empirical findings on the issue.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2011
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE) in its series Working Papers with number 105.

    in new window

    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bav:wpaper:105_mosel
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bav:wpaper:105_mosel. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rebecca Schrader)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.