Open Access Article

Title: Appropriability: a key to opening innovation internationally?

Authors: Ioana Stefan; Lars Bengtsson

Addresses: Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, University of Gävle, Sweden ' Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, University of Gävle, Sweden

Abstract: This study focuses on the tense appropriability-openness relationship, defined by some as paradox. Based on an international survey of 415 manufacturing firms, we investigate how the use of different kinds of intellectual property protection mechanisms (IPPMs) affects interfirm R&D collaboration while considering partner location in the analysis as well. Our results show that the use of formal, semi-formal or informal IPPMs has different effects on openness in terms of partner variety and depth of collaboration with academic partners, value chain partners and competitors. Moreover, when considering location we uncover previously hidden appropriability-openness liaisons showing that semi-formal or informal IPPMs are mainly valid in relation to national partners, whereas formal appropriability explains international collaborations. One implication of the study is that to better understand the appropriability-openness relationship it is imperative to differentiate between national and international settings. We further suggest that the potential paradox delineating this relationship has a geographical dimension.

Keywords: appropriability; intellectual property protection; IPP mechanisms; IPPMs; inter-firm collaboration; openness paradox; R&D collaboration; research and development; international collaboration; open innovation; partner location; partner breadth; partner variety; partner depth; survey; manufacturing industry; national collaboration; international collaboration; geographical dimensions.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2016.078570

International Journal of Technology Management, 2016 Vol.71 No.3/4, pp.232 - 252

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 23 Aug 2016 *