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Choosing the Scope of Trade Secret Law when Secrets Complement Patents

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Abstract

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 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 not too restrictive conditions a broad scope of trade secret law is socially beneficial either the patent length is adjusted in order to grant the innovator the right reward or it is fixed and the innovator is overrewarded

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  • Ottoz Elisabetta & Cugno Franco, 2009. "Choosing the Scope of Trade Secret Law when Secrets Complement Patents," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200911, University of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:uto:dipeco:200911
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    1. 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.
    2. 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 427-435, December.
    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. Tuomas Takalo, 1998. "Innovation and imitation under imperfect patent protection," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 229-241, October.
    5. Nancy T. Gallini, 1992. "Patent Policy and Costly Imitation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 52-63, Spring.
    6. Maurer, Stephen M & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2002. "The Independent Invention Defence in Intellectual Property," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(276), pages 535-547, November.
    7. Richard Gilbert & Carl Shapiro, 1990. "Optimal Patent Length and Breadth," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 106-112, Spring.
    8. 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.
    9. Tandon, Pankaj, 1982. "Optimal Patents with Compulsory Licensing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 470-486, June.
    10. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1983. "Learning-by-Doing and Market Performance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 522-530, Autumn.
    11. Arora, Ashish, 1997. "Patents, licensing, and market structure in the chemical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 391-403, December.
    12. Elisabetta Ottoz & Franco Cugno, 2008. "Patent--Secret Mix in Complex Product Firms," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 142-158.
    13. Denicolo, Vincenzo & Franzoni, Luigi Alberto, 2003. "The contract theory of patents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 365-380, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Crass, Dirk & Garcia Valero, Francisco & Pitton, Francesco & Rammer, Christian, 2016. "Protecting innovation through patents and trade secrets: Determinants and performance impacts for firms with a single innovation," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-061, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Antonelli Cristiano, 2012. "Compulsory licensing: the foundations of an institutional innovation," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201207, University of Turin.
    3. Mario Coccia, 2012. "Path-breaking innovations for lung cancer: a revolution in clinical practice," CERIS Working Paper 201201, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY -NOW- Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY.
    4. Paul Belleflamme & Paul Bloch, 2013. "Dynamic Protection of Innovations through Patents and Trade Secrets," CESifo Working Paper Series 4486, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Kay, Neil M, 2013. "QWERTY and the search for optimality," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-103, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    6. Neil M Kay, 2013. "QWERTY and the search for optimality," Working Papers 1324, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    7. David Harper, 2014. "Property rights as a complex adaptive system: how entrepreneurship transforms intellectual property structures," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 335-355, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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