Is risking protecting intellectual property by patent or secret?
Coulibaly, Mantiaba (2010), Is risking protecting intellectual property by patent or secret?, The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business, 2010-10, Northeast Chapter, États-Unis
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference titleThe 2010 Annual Meeting of the Academy of International Business
Conference cityNortheast Chapter
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Abstract (EN)To protect intellectual property (IP), organizations use different kinds of mechanisms such as patent, secret or trade secret (Hannah, 2005; 2007). Patent grants to the holder a temporary monopoly position including the right to sue for infringement (Hussinger, 2005). Secret or trade secret is defined as “any valuable piece of information that is not commonly known in the industry and that the firm makes an effort to protect” (Fosfuri and Rønde, 2004: 46). Unlike patent relies on disclosure regime, trade secret offers a perpetual protection (Stanley and Raskind, 1991: 24). Face to the different types of mechanisms to protect IP, why a company makes decision to choose patent or secret? For Hussinger (2005: 23) patent protection is used to secure monopoly profits where they are large. Also patents are important to protect intellectual property in the market, whereas secrecy seems to be rather important for inventions that are not commercialized yet. Indeed, secret may be rather applied for early-state inventions that will enter the market in a later period. Another way, secrecy allows firms to protect their process inventions which are not captured by the sales of new products (Hussinger, 2005: 22). In spite of advantages of these mechanisms, they are limited by some factors: costs, environment uncertainty, legal environment, risk perception (Duncan, 1972; Luo, 2005; Sitkin et Weingart1995; Jaffe et Lerner, 2004; Das et Teng, 2001; Rohrmann, 2008). So mechanisms to protect intellectual protection imply risks. A risk is represented by a “possibility of physical and/or social and/or financial harm/detriment/loss due to a hazard within a particular time frame” (Rohrmann, 2008: 2). Our objective is to analyze factors that explain risk taking when companies protect their intellectual property by secret or patent (variables linked to the decision making to protect IP). In the first part of our research we present a stream of a literature according to the main mechanisms to protect IP: secret and patent. In the second part we identify the variables that represent risk factors to protect IP by patent or secret. Finally we discuss results and futures orientations. We show that to choose the mechanism to protect IP, decision makers must consider environmental variables such as the nature and structure of property rights (Davies (1981: 136), environment uncertainty, financial costs. In this context, they can reduce risk taking.
Subjects / Keywordsintellectual property; risk taking; patent; secret; environment uncertainty
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