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Protecting innovation through patents and trade secrets: Determinants and performance impacts for firms with a single innovation

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  • Crass, Dirk
  • Garcia Valero, Francisco
  • Pitton, Francesco
  • Rammer, Christian

Abstract

This paper tests a number of hypotheses on the use and effectiveness of patents and trade secrets designed to protect innovation. While previous studies have often considered patents and trade secrets as substitutes for one another, we investigate the complementary role of the two protection methods. We identify protection strategies for single innovation firms and hence overcome the assignment problem of existing empirical studies, i.e. whether firms using both protection methods do so for the same innovation or for different innovations. Employing firm panel data from Germany, we find fairly few differences between the determinants for choosing secrecy and patenting. Single innovators that combine both strategies, 39% of the group, tend to aim at a higher level of innovation and act in a more uncertain technological environment. Firms combining both protection methods yield significantly higher sales with new-to-market innovations. Using only secrecy has slightly stronger positive impacts on firm profitability.

Suggested Citation

  • 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 - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:16061
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Peneder, Michael & Rammer, Christian (ed.), 2018. "Measuring Competitiveness," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, number 181906.
    2. Michael Peneder & Christian Rammer, 2018. "Measuring Competitiveness," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 60838, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Patents; Trade Secrets; Performance Impacts; Single Innovation;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • 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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