Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/27580
Authors: 
Beschorner, Patrick Frank Ernst
Year of Publication: 
2008
Series/Report no.: 
ZEW Discussion Papers 08-098
Abstract: 
The traditional argument that shorter product cycles favor trade secret over patenting is reviewed. A game theoretic model provides an argument that shorter product cycles can induce firms to file more patent applications. The firms may be trapped in a prisoners' dilemma where all firms would jointly prefer to patent less and to not have a patent thicket. If firms start applying for patents on technologies which are not yet mature in order to cover ideas that may eventually turn successful, this may create a patent thicket. The transition into a situation where firms start patenting many ideas instead of single mature technologies is initiated and accelerated when network effects are present or patents exhibit a blocking property.
Subjects: 
patent thicket
product cycles
licensing
network effects
JEL: 
L1
L2
O31
K2
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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