The timing of trademark application in innovation processes

Marcel Seip*, Carolina Castaldi, Meindert Flikkema, Ard Pieter de Man

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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An emerging stream of literature is studying the extent to which trademarks can be used to measure innovation. The picture of the usefulness of trademarks for innovation studies, however, is far from complete. Starting with cues from the patent literature, this paper studies the relationship between the timing of trademark applications and innovation. The trademark literature provides competing predictions on whether companies apply for trademarks early or late in the innovation process. Using a large sample of trademarks referring to innovation, we undertake a first empirical test of these predictions. Our findings suggest that in many instances reality is not as clear cut as the predictions suggest. However, when trademark data is combined with data on firm age, sector and size it is possible to predict whether a trademark refers to early or late-stage innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-45
Number of pages12
Early online date12 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Innovation
  • IPR strategy
  • Start-ups
  • Timing
  • Trademarks


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