We analyse the initial IP applications of 4,703 start-ups in the U.S., distinguishing between trademark and patent applications. Our empirical results show that start-ups are more likely to file for trademarks instead of patents when entering markets with a higher market concentration. Furthermore, we find that start-ups that are primarily active in business-to-consumer markets instead of business-to-business markets are more likely to file trademarks. Finally, the involvement of a venture capitalist (VC) affects the initial IP application. VC-backed start-ups are more likely than other start-ups to file initial IP in the form of trademarks rather than patents. This paper contributes to research on the use of IP rights in start-ups and to the literature on new venture strategy.

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doi.org/10.1080/13662716.2016.1231607, hdl.handle.net/1765/93408
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Industry and Innovation
Department of Applied Economics

de Vries, G., Pennings, E., Block, J., & Fisch, C. (2017). Trademark or patent? The effects of market concentration, customer type and venture capital financing on start-ups’ initial IP applications. Industry and Innovation, 24(4), 325–345. doi:10.1080/13662716.2016.1231607