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Review of Law & Economics

Editor-in-Chief: Parisi, Francesco

Ed. by Cooter, Robert D. / Gómez Pomar, Fernando / Kornhauser, Lewis A. / Parchomovsky, Gideon / Ulen, Thomas

3 Issues per year

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2014: 0.179
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2014: 0.610
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2014: 0.311


Trade Secret vs. Broad Patent: The Role of Licensing

Franco Cugno1 / Elisabetta Ottoz2

1Università di Torino, Italy

2Università di Torino, Italy

Citation Information: Review of Law & Economics. Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 209–221, ISSN (Online) 1555-5879, DOI: 10.2202/1555-5879.1069, September 2006

Publication History

Published Online:

We present a simple model wherein a patents regime is inferior to a trade secrets system, meaning that when private returns from innovation under the two regimes are the same, society will be better off if the innovator chooses not to patent. In our model, trade secret licensing is envisaged and the inferiority of patents depends on the lack of an independent invention defense in patent law, while such a defense currently exists in secrecy and copyright law. Thus, although secrecy is superior to patents, it is not superior to other types of formal intellectual property rights where independent invention is allowed (such as copyrighted software).

Citing Articles

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Elisabetta Ottoz and Franco Cugno
International Review of Law and Economics, 2011, Volume 31, Number 4, Page 219
Bronwyn Hall, Christian Helmers, Mark Rogers, and Vania Sena
Journal of Economic Literature, 2014, Volume 52, Number 2, Page 375

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