In contrast to the vast literature on verifying the importance of formal R&D activities measured as patent registrations, this paper explores the possibility of not patent but trademark-driven path of latecomer firms' technological development. The study is motivated by the evidence from the Korean data showing the existence of two groups of sectors where firms in the one group tended to file more trademarks than patents. We find that in the first group of sectors, like food, apparel, and pharmaceuticals, trademarks have been the most applied form of the IPRs with a much large number of their registrations than patents from the initial stage of development until recently, whereas in the second group of sectors, like electronics and automobiles, the main IPR form has been patents. Regressions on the determinants about this bifurcation find that the trademark groups are those sectors involving more tacit knowledge and/or domestic market orientation associated with slow progress in technological capabilities. The results are important because it implies the existence of alternative path of economic development by the latecomer firms in different sectors, beside the patent-driven path which is already verified in Kim et al. (2012). Appropriate intellectual property protection and economic growth in countries at different levels of development. Research Policy, 41(2), 358-375, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2011.09.003.
- sectoral systems of innovations
- tacit knowledge