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Defacto and Deeded Intellectual Property: Knowledge-Driven Co-Evolution of Firm Collaboration Boundaries and IPR Stragtegy

Listed author(s):
  • Lynne G. Zucker
  • Michael R. Darby

Research on intellectual property has focused on formal legally recorded rights that we call deeded, most often measured by granted patents. Meanwhile, other "defacto" IP (mainly purposive secrecy and natural excludability) has become more important because of the increasing closeness of commercial technologies to cutting edge science. A "corporate-academic" model has developed and become institutionalized over the last three decades which emphasizes attracting the best and brightest scientists, providing them with a commensurate increase in autonomy including initiation of bench-level collaborations with top university scientists in which valuable tacit knowledge is transferred in both directions. We provide suggestive evidence that both firm and university scientists learn from these collaborations, e.g., both types of scientists experience sharply higher patenting rates once they have engage in university-firm collaborations. We propose and test two indicators of adoption of the corporate-academic model, whether or not the firm has ever: (a) co-authored an article with a university scientist and (b) applied for (an eventually granted) patent with non-patent references, where these references are used importantly to cite scientific articles and other scientific materials. Both were robustly positive and statistically significant across four measures of U.S. high-tech firm success (publishing, patenting, obtaining venture capital, and going public) for six broad S&T areas (bio/chem/med, information technology, nanotechnology, semiconductors, other science, and other engineering). Star scientists publication as or with firm employees, SBIR grants received, and citation-weighted patents and articles all played comparatively supporting roles in the empirical estimates. We concluded that the most successful high-tech firms have adopted a strategy of operating near the edge of the scientific envelope where high levels of tacit knowledge provide substantial natural excludability reducing or preventing entry of imitators.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.15609/annaeconstat2009.115-116.221
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Article provided by GENES in its journal Annals Of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): (2014)
Issue (Month): 115-116 ()
Pages: 221-251

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Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2014:i:115-116:p:221-251
DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009.115-116.221
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  1. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby, 2007. "Virtuous circles in science and commerce," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 86(3), pages 445-470, 08.
  2. Lee Branstetter & Yoshiaki Ogura, 2005. "Is Academic Science Driving a Surge in Industrial Innovation? Evidence from Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 11561, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pierre Azoulay & Joshua S. Graff Zivin & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2011. "The Diffusion of Scientific Knowledge across Time and Space: Evidence from Professional Transitions for the Superstars of Medicine," NBER Chapters,in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited, pages 107-155 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Maximo Torero, 2002. "Labor Mobility from Academe to Commerce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 629-660, July.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-351, March.
  6. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R, 2001. "Capturing Technological Opportunity via Japan's Star Scientists: Evidence from Japanese Firms' Biotech Patents and Products," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 37-58, January.
  7. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Armstrong, Jeff, 1998. "Geographically Localized Knowledge: Spillovers or Markets?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 65-86, January.
  8. Zucker, Lynne G. & Darby, Michael R., 1997. "Present at the biotechnological revolution: transformation of technological identity for a large incumbent pharmaceutical firm," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 429-446, December.
  9. Mansfield, Edwin, 1995. "Academic Research Underlying Industrial Innovations:," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 55-65, February.
  10. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
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