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Why do innovators not apply for trademarks? The role of information asymmetries and collaborative innovation

Suma Athreye and Claudio Fassio ()

Industry and Innovation, 2020, vol. 27, issue 1-2, 134-154

Abstract: This paper analyses the underlying reasons why innovators do not apply for trademarks for all of their valuable inventions. Using a unique database of UK innovations linked to innovative firms, the empirical analysis highlights the many ways that firms can alleviate information asymmetries and the constraints imposed by collaborative innovation without taking recourse to trademarks. When information asymmetries are not at stake, i.e. when firms use an already existing trademark for their innovations or when they use intermediaries for its distribution, trademarks no longer serve their purpose, leading firms to avoid using it for their innovations. Open innovation also decreases the incentive to trademark, especially when the innovative process involves users, mainly because of property rights issues or because the innovator prefers to use the clients’ own distribution channels.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2019.1616533

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