25 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2004 Last revised: 14 May 2014
Date Written: November 17, 2014
I consider the use of defensive publishing by a firm with a patentable innovation in hand. Such publishing discloses technical information to rivals and foregoes the publisher's legal right to exclude, but also prevents rivals from patenting. My analysis identifies why firms choose defensive publishing over patenting and trade secrecy. I present summary data suggesting that defensive publishing has become more common recently, that the composition of firms using it is changing, and that it has emerged especially as a response to the fear of bad patents being issued in the area of software and business methods. These data are consistent with my theoretical results.
Keywords: Defensive publishing, bad patents, imperfect patent protection, software and business-method patents, sharing intellectual property
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