As firms turn their innovation activities toward collaborating with external partners, they face additional challenges in managing their knowledge. While different modes of intellectual property right regimes are applied in closed innovation systems, there seems to be tension between the concepts of “open innovation” and “intellectual property rights”. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how firms best manage knowledge via intellectual property rights in open innovation processes.
Following a mixed methods approach, the authors review relevant literature at the intersection of knowledge management, intellectual property rights, strategic management of intellectual property rights and the open innovation process. The authors identify success drivers through the lenses of – but not limited to – intellectual property rights and classify them in five distinct groups. Expending the view on open innovation beyond its modus operandi, the authors develop the Open Innovation Life Cycle, covering three stages and three levels of the open innovation process. The authors apply their findings to a case study in the pharmaceutical industry.
The authors provide four key contributions. First, existing literature yields inconclusive results concerning the enabling or disabling function of intellectual property rights in open innovation processes, but the majority of scholars detect an ambivalent relation. Second, they identify and classify success drivers of successful knowledge management via intellectual property rights in open innovation processes. Third, they advance literature on open innovation beyond its modus operandi to include three stages and three levels. Fourth, they test their findings to a case study and show how management leverages knowledge by properly using intellectual property rights in open innovation.
The findings support firms in managing knowledge via intellectual property rights in open innovation processes. Management should account for the peculiarities of open innovation preparation and open innovation termination to prevent unintentional knowledge drain.
This is one of the first studies to view open innovation as a process beyond its modus operandi by considering the preparations for and termination of open innovation activities. It also addresses the levels involved in managing knowledge via intellectual property rights in open innovation from individual (personal) to project and firm level.
This paper forms part of a special section “knowledge management practices and strategies for open innovation”.
Bican, P.M., Guderian, C.C. and Ringbeck, A. (2017), "Managing knowledge in open innovation processes: an intellectual property perspective", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 1384-1405. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-11-2016-0509
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