Secrecy Versus Patents: Process Innovations and the Role of Uncertainty
Whilst firms often prefer secrecy to patents and process innovations particu- larly lend themselves to secrecy, we establish a rationale for process innovators who patent. Using a simple two-period model, we show that under myopic op- timisation, the incentive to patent rather than pursue secrecy increases as the probability that the rival firm attaches to it being low-cost falls and as the pro- portion of the cost reduction due to the innovation, secured by the rival firm in the period after the patent has expired, falls. However, the gain to the innovating firm from patenting rather than secrecy strictly increases if the cost reduction due to the innovation is sufficiently small that the high-cost firm could profitably bluff that it is low-cost. Finally, allowing the low-cost firm the option of using an output signal in such cases, may make the patent strategy more or less attractive relative to the case of myopic optimisation.
|Date of creation:||2012|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 9 Mappin Street, SHEFFIELD, S1 4DT|
Phone: +44 114 222 3399
Fax: + 44 (0)114 222 3458
Web page: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bonanno, Giacomo & Haworth, Barry, 1998. "Intensity of competition and the choice between product and process innovation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 495-510, July.
- Vincenzo Denicolo & Luigi Alberto Franzoni, 2004. "Patents, Secrets, and the First-Inventor Defense," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 517-538, 09.
- Horstmann, Ignatius & MacDonald, Glenn M & Slivinski, Alan, 1985. "Patents as Information Transfer Mechanisms: To Patent or (Maybe) Not to Patent," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 837-58, October.
- Klaus Kultti & Tuomas Takalo & Juuso Toikka, 2007. "Secrecy versus patenting," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 22-42, 03.
- Arundel, Anthony, 2001. "The relative effectiveness of patents and secrecy for appropriation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 611-624, April.
- Suzanne Scotchmer & Jerry Green, 1990. "Novelty and Disclosure in Patent Law," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 131-146, Spring.
- James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2004. "Little Patents and Big Secrets: Managing Intellectual Property," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(1), pages 1-22, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2012006. 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: (Jacob Holmes)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.