IP Strategy and Use Of IP Protection Mechanisms Across Firm Size: An empirical investigation
In this paper we use data from the 2012 Innovation Strategy Survey (485 responses) to compare motives and choices with respect to IP strategy in firms with sizes ranging from micro to very large. Our results confirm significant differences across firm size when it comes to strategic goals, availability of means to deal with open innovation environments, the ability to generate licensing revenues, as well as the in the practice and motivations for the use of non-patenting disclosure. We find, for example, that the potential of licensing as a means of appropriating value only holds in the context of the very large firms, which has implications for the IP strategy of smaller actors. Likewise, we also begin to see a pattern emerging concerning the openness of firms’ innovation strategy wherein the extremes of the firm-size scale tend to express similar behavior but for apparently different reasons; thus they apply differing IP strategies. By our interpretation, smaller firms exhibit a predominant preference for open IP strategies while very large firms tend to exhibit more closed IP strategies. We also find that the majority of firms—in particular micro-sized firms—is interested in securing freedom to operate. This provides further reason for us to believe that the practice of strategic disclosure—a competitive and cost effective means to enhance freedom to operate—is underrepresented in awareness and use within integrated IP strategies.