Trademark or Patent? The Effects of Market Structure, Customer Type and Venture Capital Financing on Start-Ups' IP Decisions
39 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 9, 2013
We analyze the initial intellectual property (IP) right of 4,703 start-up entrants in the US, distinguishing between trademark and patent applications. The results show that start-ups are more likely to file for a trademark instead of a patent when entering into more competitive market structures. Further, we find that start-ups with a focus on distribution that serves end-consumers are more likely to file for a trademark and that start-ups that operate upstream and sell to other businesses are more likely to file for a patent. Lastly, the external influences on a start-up‟s management, such as the involvement of a venture capitalist (VC), affect IP applications. The increased incentive of VC-backed start-ups to become operational on the market makes them more likely to file initial IP in the form of a trademark rather than a patent. Among other factors, we control for R&D and advertising intensity in the industry and distinguish between more technical and more service-driven industries.
Keywords: competition, intellectual property, trademarks, venture capital, patents
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