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The Choice between Formal and Informal Intellectual Property: A Literature Review

  • Bronwyn H. Hall
  • Christian Helmers
  • Mark Rogers
  • Vania Sena

We survey the economic literature, both theoretical and empirical, on the choice of intellectual property protection by firms. Our focus is on the tradeoffs between using patents and disclosing versus the use of secrecy, although we also look briefly at the use of other means of formal intellectual property protection.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17983.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as The choice between formal and informal intellectual property: A review, with Christian Helmers, Mark Rogers, and Vania Sena, March 2012, revised May 2013, forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Literature. NBER Working Paper No. 17983.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17983
Note: IO LE PR
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  1. David Encaoua & Yassine Lefouili, 2006. "Choosing Intellectual Protection: Imitation, Patent Strength and Licensing," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00177619, HAL.
  2. Christine Greenhalgh & Mark Rogers, 2007. "Trade Marks and Performance in UK Firms: Evidence of Schumpeterian Competition through Innovation," Economics Series Working Papers 300, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Ari Hyytinen & Mika Pajarinen, 2005. "External Finance, Firm Growth and the Benefits of Information Disclosure: Evidence from Finland," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 69-93, January.
  4. Nuvolari, A., 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Working Papers 04.02, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
  5. Henry, Emeric & Ponce, Carlos, 2009. "Waiting to imitate: on the dynamic pricing of knowledge," CEPR Discussion Papers 7511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Cremers, Katrin & Ernicke, Max & Gaessler, Fabian & Harhoff, Dietmar & Helmers, Christian & McDonagh, Luke & Schliessler, Paula & Van Zeebroeck, Nicolas, 2013. "Patent litigation in Europe," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-072, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Wesley M Cohen & Richard R Nelson & John P Walsh, 2003. "Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (Or Not)," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000624, David K. Levine.
  8. Schneider, Cédric, 2008. "Fences and competition in patent races," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1348-1364, November.
  9. Klaus Kultti & Tuomas Takalo & Juuso Toikka, 2007. "Secrecy versus patenting," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 22-42, 03.
  10. David Encaoua & Yassine Lefouili, 2007. "Choosing Intellectual Protection: Imitation, Patent Strength and Licensing," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00318137, HAL.
  11. Hyytinen, Ari & Pajarinen, Mika, 2005. "Financing of technology-intensive small businesses: some evidence on the uniqueness of the ICT sector," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 115-132, January.
  12. Petra Moser, 2013. "Patents and Innovation: Evidence from Economic History," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 23-44, Winter.
  13. John P. Walsh & Sadao Nagaoka, 2009. "How ’Open ’ is Innovation in the US and Japan?: Evidence from the RIETI-Georgia Tech inventor survey," Discussion papers 09022, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  14. Paul H. Jensen & Elizabeth Webster, 2009. "Knowledge management: does capture impede creation?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 701-727, August.
  15. Ivan Png & Qiu-hong Wang, 2007. "Copyright Duration and the Supply of Creative Work," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000478, David K. Levine.
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