Do Patents Enable Disclosure? Evidence from the Invention Secrecy Act

40 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2020

See all articles by Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Gaétan de Rassenfosse

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Gabriele Pellegrino

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Emilio Raiteri

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences

Date Written: March 26, 2020

Abstract

This paper provides novel empirical evidence that patents enable knowledge disclosure. The analysis exploits the Invention Secrecy Act, which grants the U.S. Commissioner for Patents the right to prevent disclosure of new inventions that represent a threat to national security. Using a two-level matching approach, we document a negative and large relationship between the enforcement of a secrecy order and follow-on inventions, as captured with patent citations and text-based measures of invention similarity. The effect of secrecy orders is particularly salient for geographically-distant parties and for inventions in the same technological field as the secreted patent.

Keywords: disclosure, follow-on invention, knowledge diffusion, patent

JEL Classification: O31, O33, O34

Suggested Citation

de Rassenfosse, Gaétan and Pellegrino, Gabriele and Raiteri, Emilio, Do Patents Enable Disclosure? Evidence from the Invention Secrecy Act (March 26, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3561896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3561896

Gaétan De Rassenfosse (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

Gabriele Pellegrino

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

Emilio Raiteri

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences ( email )

Den Dolech 2
Eindhoven
Netherlands

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