Questionnaire Survey Regarding the Situation of Technological Know-how and its Leakage in Japanese firms

Author Name WATANABE Toshiya (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / HIRAI Yuri (University of Tokyo)
Creation Date/NO. March 2016 16-J-014
Research Project Study on Technology Know-how and its Protection via Questionnaire Survey on the Japanese Manufacturing Industry
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Trade secrets constitute one of the most strategically important sources of competitive advantage. We focused on technological know-how, which is a trade secret, and conducted a questionnaire survey of the top 5,000 Japanese organizations (according to the number of patent applications in 2012) in order to reveal the actual situation of holding technological know-how and its leakage. The final usable sample for the study was 770 Japanese firms, which was a response rate of 16.0%. By analyzing the data, we found that Japanese firms held almost the same number of technological know-how as patents, the number of explicit technological know-how tended to increase, small firms more actively utilized technological know-how than large firms, and the ratio of technological know-how complementing patents in small firms was higher than that in large firms. In addition, regression analysis revealed the relationship between the number of leakage of technological know-how and firms' governance and detection activities. As a result, while the level of governance activities did not significantly affect the number of leakage of technological know-how, this study found an inverted U-shaped relationship between detection activities and the leakage of technological know-how. This result indicates that a firm which doesn't implement detection activities cannot find out the leakage of technological know-how, and detection activities themselves possess the deterrent capabilities to prevent the leakage of technological know-how.