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Is Silence Golden? Patents versus Secrecy at the Firm Level

  • Hussinger, Katrin

In the 1990s, patenting schemes changed in many respects: upcoming new technologies accelerated the shift from price competition towards competition based on technical inventions, a worldwide surge in patenting took place, and the ?patent thicket? arose as a consequence of strategic patenting. This study analyzes the importance of patenting versus secrecy as an effective alternative to protect intellectual property in the inventions? market phase. The sales figure with new products is introduced as a new measure for the importance of IP protection tools among product innovating firms. Focusing on the German manufacturing in 2000, it turns out that patents are important to protect intellectual property in the market, whereas secrecy seems to be rather important for early-stage inventions.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 04-78.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:2883
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  1. Langinier, Corinne & Moschini, GianCarlo, 2002. "Economics of Patents: An Overview, The," Staff General Research Papers 2061, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1988. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial R&D," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 862, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  8. 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.
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  11. Kortum, Samuel & Lerner, Josh, 1999. "What is behind the recent surge in patenting?1," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-22, January.
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  13. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3), pages 783-832.
  14. Dirk Czarnitzki, 2005. "The Extent and Evolution of Productivity Deficiency in Eastern Germany," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 211-231, October.
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  16. Edwin Mansfield, 1986. "Patents and Innovation: An Empirical Study," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 32(2), pages 173-181, February.
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