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Intellectual Property and Inter-organizational Collaborative Networks: Navigating the Maze



Intellectual Property (IP) is a key intangible asset influencing corporate performance and its management is increasingly recognized as a central element of corporate strategy. This article is concerned with the management of IP in inter-firm collaborative projects mediated through the use of advanced IT tools. Here, groups of firms, often competitors, and sometimes their customer organizations, collaborate in the design, development, manufacture and maintenance of complex products, exchanging large amounts of proprietary technical data through IT tools. How can organizations exploit the capabilities offered by these tools without increasing the vulnerability of IP assets to misappropriation, unauthorized use or leakage? We explore the case of the UK defence market, where an extensive set of formal contractual tools is being developed to support IP management in collaborative projects. Through an in-depth study of IP management practice in UK defence projects we analyse the extent to which contractual tools can combine with technical solutions to provide answers to the problems posed by IP management in complex, long-term collaborative projects. We conclude that contractual and technical tools must be underpinned by managerial changes bringing together functions that remain separated in most large corporations: Information Technology management, legal and commercial departments.

Suggested Citation

  • Puay Tang & Jordi Molas-Gallart, 2005. "Intellectual Property and Inter-organizational Collaborative Networks: Navigating the Maze," SPRU Working Paper Series 130, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:130

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carl Shapiro, 2001. "Navigating the Patent Thicket: Cross Licenses, Patent Pools, and Standard Setting," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 119-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    Intellectual Property management; Information Technology; Shared Data Environments; inter-organisational networks; defence sector; collaborative projects. IPR;

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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