New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Louise Earl and Fred Gault
Chapter 6: Large and Small Firms and Intellectual Property: Protecting Software
6. Large and small ﬁrms and intellectual property: protecting software* Norhène Chabchoub and Jorge Niosi INTRODUCTION In the knowledge economy, information has become the most important resource allowing both ﬁrms and nations to grow. Information is the basis of competitive advantage at the micro and macro levels. For ﬁrms in the science-based industries, intellectual property (IP) is a key element of their assets. It is thus essential for ﬁrms to be able to ensure the mastering and the protection of this asset. Patents are considered one of the best economic instruments for inventors to keep control of their inventions and ensure a return on their investments in research and development (R&D) (Mazzoleni and Nelson 1998). Software is ubiquitous in the knowledge economy, and the software industry is one of the most important places where IP is concentrated and wealth is created. The information and communication technology (ICT) sector accounted for over one-third of the growth of the US economy between 1995 and 1999 (Cortright and Mayer 2001). Within the ICT sector, the computer software segment has experienced exceptional growth over the period 1995–2005 and continues to develop, if at a less spectacular pace. The diﬀusion of the personal computer (PC) has contributed enormously to the development of the computer software industry (Mowery 1999). PCs and software are now at the core of both services and manufacturing. From the origins of the industry in the 1950s until now, computer software has been protected mostly through copyright. In...
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