Publication Date

9-2005

Series Number

05-WP 404

Abstract

The choice of a research path in attacking scientific and technological problems is a significant component of firms' R&D strategy. One of the findings of the patent races literature is that, in a competitive market setting, firms' noncooperative choices of research projects display an excessive degree of correlation, as compared to the socially optimal level. The paper revisits this question in a context in which firms have access to trade secrets, in addition to patents, to assert intellectual property rights (IPR) over their discoveries. We find that the availability of multiple IPR protection instruments can move the paths chosen by firms engaged in an R&D race toward the social optimum.

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