How does knowledge matter patenting inventions?
While there is robust empirical evidence that firm patenting is positively associated with various measures of overall performance and competitiveness, less is known about what determines the patenting choice. For this reason, this paper examines whether R&D expenditure and the type of knowledge used in the invention determine the decision to patent. With this aim, we use a sample of firms and the European Patent Office to analyse how the combination of R&D expenditure and knowledge codifiability, observability and simplicity influences the patent decision. Our results contribute to the literature and assist R&D managers by showing that both R&D and codified knowledge have a positive impact on the number of inventions patented by a firm, while observable knowledge has a negative impact on patents. Furthermore, we find that the effect of R&D expenditure on the propensity to patent inventions is negatively moderated by knowledge observability and simplicity.
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