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Choosing the scope of trade secret law when secrets complement patents

  • Ottoz, Elisabetta
  • Cugno, Franco

We present a model where an incumbent firm has a proprietary product whose technology consists of at least two components, one of which is patented while the other is kept secret. At the patent expiration date, an entrant firm will enter the market on the same technological footing as the incumbent if it is successful in duplicating, at certain costs, the secret component of the incumbent’s technology. Otherwise, it will enter the market with a production cost disadvantage. We show that under some conditions a broad scope of trade secret law is socially beneficial despite the innovator is over-rewarded.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 20672.

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Date of creation: 14 Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20672
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  1. 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.
  2. Gilbert, R. & Shapiro, C., 1988. "Optimal Patent Length And Breadth," Papers 28, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  3. Paul Klemperer, 1990. "How Broad Should the Scope of Patent Protection Be?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 113-130, Spring.
  4. Ottoz Elisabetta & Cugno Franco, 2007. "Patent-Secret Mix in Complex Product Firms," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200707, University of Turin.
  5. Tuomas Takalo, 1998. "Innovation and imitation under imperfect patent protection," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 229-241, October.
  6. Stephen M Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2003. "The Independent Invention Defense in Intellectual Property," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000544, David K. Levine.
  7. David D. Friedman & William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1991. "Some Economics of Trade Secret Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 61-72, Winter.
  8. Nisvan Erkal, 2004. "On the Interaction between Patent Policy and Trade Secret Policy," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(4), pages 427-35, December.
  9. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
  10. Tandon, Pankaj, 1982. "Optimal Patents with Compulsory Licensing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 470-86, June.
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