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International Journal of Intellectual Property Management
International Journal of Intellectual Property Management


Special Issue on: "Tug of War in the Field of IP – Searching for a Balanced Attitude to Managing Intellectual Property"

Guest Editor: Dr. Pia Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, Lappeenranta University of Technology/University of Oulu, Finland

The logic of creating value through developing and utilising intellectual property has changed during recent years. Therefore, the management of IP has also taken new forms and widened in range. The business environment provides several options with the potential to become valuable. For example, IP can be created and utilised globally or locally, and in collaboration with other firms or internally. IP creation can be organised in companies with markets or hierarchies as the governance form. Exploration or exploitation can be chosen as the focal approach. Intellectual property can be protected relying on intellectual property rights or contracts, or on tacit nature of knowledge and lead-time. Companies can go for protection provided by trade secrets or patents and create monopoly power, or they can decide to innovate openly, letting the information flow in and out of the company.

While the range of the alternatives is wide, finding the most beneficial approach to managing intellectual property can be very challenging. This is especially because the alternatives often seem very contradictory: choosing one makes using the others difficult or impossible. Challenges may occur because of the opposing nature of the alternatives, or because of the limited resources of firms: several alternatives just cannot be pursued simultaneously. Consequently, the various opportunities may end up being dilemmas and paradoxes that managers need to deal with.

This special issue addresses the balance between different approaches to managing intellectual property, the tug of the war in the field of IP. Instead of just evaluating benefits and downsides of varying alternatives, the goal is to bring together studies that discuss seemingly contradictory issues in an integrative manner, paying attention to their interplay. In addition to providing tools for choosing between alternative forms of IP management as such, the aim is to find ways for managing combinations of contradicting strategies.

For this special issue, contributions are invited from scholars and practitioners with insights from economic, legal, and management perspectives on dealing with paradoxes related to IP management. Papers may be theoretical or empirical in nature.

Questions of particular interest for this special issue include the following:

  • Why and how do companies end up having different approaches to IP management? Why do some firms rely on networking and collaboration, while others put their faith in strict control? What makes companies to share intellectual property and put aside the idea of protecting it?
  • What kind of outcomes do the choices made by company managers lead to? Is the performance of companies where authority-based hierarchy or consensus-based hierarchy resides different from that of companies that take advantage of markets in IP creation and management? Under what circumstances does using patents to enable collaboration and creation of business-to-business relationships become more beneficial than using them to exclude rivals? Does using one protection mechanism of IP enable or prevent utilisation of another?
  • How can contradicting elements, approaches and strategies be merged to create new beneficial combinations? What kinds of systems are needed in order to find a balanced solution and to benefit from it? How can HRM systems support adoption of a new IP management approach? What are the factors enabling or preventing moving from one approach to another? What needs to be taken into account when IP is created and managed in collaboration with competitors? How companies combine controlling IP and open innovation?
  • Is it possible to create competitive advantage by searching for innovative combinations among contradicting approaches? Are innovative approaches a source of profits? How big are the risks related to creating combinations?
Subject Coverage
The subject areas for the special issue include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • IP management in open innovation
  • Knowledge sharing and protection for profiting from IP
  • Organising for IP management
  • IP management in different networks
  • Managing IP when collaborating with competitors (coopetition)
  • Dilemmas related to standardisation and IP management
  • Combining different appropriability mechanisms
  • Efficient and profitable uses of intellectual property rights
  • Defensive publishing vs. patenting
  • Alignment of business strategy and IP strategy
  • Organisational capabilities in choosing IP management approach
  • Managerial values and attitudes in creating innovative combinations

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors, sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers are available on the Author Guidelines page

Important Dates

Deadline for submission of papers: 15 March 2008