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Secrets for sale? Innovation and the nature of knowledge in an early industrial district: the potteries, 1750-1851

Lane, J. (2019) Secrets for sale? Innovation and the nature of knowledge in an early industrial district: the potteries, 1750-1851. Enterprise & Society, 20 (4). pp. 861-906. ISSN 1467-2235

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/eso.2019.8

Abstract/Summary

This article investigates innovation and knowledge circulation in the North Staffordshire Potteries during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It evaluates new empirical evidence of formal and informal patterns of knowledge creation and dissemination in order to highlight tensions between forms of open knowledge sharing and the private appropriation of returns to innovative activity. By presenting new patent data it shows that formal protection was not a widespread strategy in the industry. It uses patent specifications to determine what types of knowledge were, and could be, patented in the district, and by whom. A range of sources are used to demonstrate evidence of innovation and knowledge appropriation outside of the patent system. The article identifies distinct types of knowledge in the industry and shows how differences in these led to a range of strategies being employed by potters, with the role of secrecy highlighted as a particularly prevalent and effective strategy.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:84922
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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