The pressure to patent combined with the high cost of the patenting process often causes SMEs to deplete their resources and acts as a barrier to entry. In this paper we develop a framework that allows evaluating the strategic means start-ups have available to protect and defend their technological creations thorough the use of an IP strategy that integrates patenting with defensive publication.

Defensive publication, the practice of intentionally disclosing details of an invention, thus preventing others from patenting the same or similar invention, has been commonly used by large firms and advocated to small firms, but has not been widely studied (Henkel and Pangerl, 2007). In combination with a core patent, defensive publication can secure unfettered entry into the market at the fraction of the costs of a patent-all strategy. This paper examines under which conditions entrepreneurial firms can utilize defensive publication in conjunction with patent protection of their core technologies, and which potential benefits accrue by using such integrated strategy.