Friday, July 1, 2016

Use of IP and Alternatives by UK Firms (1997-2006)

This isn't a new report, but it's new on SSRN: the UK Intellectual Property Office commissioned a 2012 report by Bronwyn Hall, Christian Helmers, Mark Rogers, and Vania Sena, The Use of Alternatives to Patents and Limits to Incentives, which presents data on the choice of different IP protection mechanisms by UK firms from 1997 to 2006. The report starts with a terrific literature review, covering works like the Levin et al. (1987) "Yale" survey, the Cohen et al. (2000) "Carnegie Mellon" survey, and the Graham et al. (2010) "Berkeley" survey. Discussion of the UK data begins on p. 41. There are 38,760 observations, but few firms show up over the whole time period.

Just a few teaser results: Only about 30% of firms report any form of innovation, and only 1.3% of firms patent. Within formal IP categories, trademarks are considered the most important right. 92% of firms that do not report product innovations regard patents as unimportant, compared with slightly less than 30% of product innovators. Trade secrecy complements use of patents: almost 40% of patentees consider secrecy to be crucial, compared with 9% of non-patenting firms. The full PDF is 138 pages, so I won't even attempt a summary, but I thought patent scholars who hadn't discovered this yet might be interested.

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