Do Inventors Value Secrecy in Patenting? Evidence from the American Inventor's Protection Act of 1999
Stuart J. H. Graham
Georgia Institute of Technology - Scheller College of Business; United States Patent and Trademark Office
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business
December 2, 2014
This study examines the revealed preferences of inventors towards secrecy in patenting by analyzing their disclosure choices before and after the enactment of the American Inventor’s Protection Act (AIPA) of 1999. We find that about 7.5% of U.S. patent applications use AIPA’s provisions to keep their inventions secret before patent grant. Small U.S. inventors, in particular, are more likely than large corporations to prefer disclosure over secrecy for their most important inventions. Our findings question the conventional wisdom -- which seems to have shaped important policy -- that the disclosure of patent applications harms U.S. invention by increasing the risk of imitation for small inventors.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: patents, intellectual property, American Inventor’s Protection Act
JEL Classification: O31, O32, O34
Date posted: November 4, 2012 ; Last revised: December 3, 2014
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