This study investigates how the inevitable disclosure doctrine, a form of trade secret legal protection, affects venture capital (VC) investment. Using a data set of VC deals realized in the United States from 1980 to 2012, we find that a rule in favor of inevitable disclosure increases the amount of VC investment. We address mechanisms that can explain these findings by assessing how the inevitable disclosure doctrine (a) displays a different impact on VC investments according to the characteristics of the state and the industry where the start-ups operate and (b) affects the performance of VC-backed firms. We also discuss managerial and policy implications of our findings.
- Inevitable disclosure doctrine
- Intellectual property rights protection
- Legal environment
- Trade secrets
- Venture capital