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Open innovation and intellectual property: a knowledge-based approach

Antonello Cammarano (University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)
Mauro Caputo (University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)
Emilia Lamberti (University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)
Francesca Michelino (University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to provide a patent-based framework for investigating the effect of previous and current open innovation (OI) adoption on firms’ knowledge management strategies and type of innovation output.


Patent data are employed for gauging innovation practices, exploitation vs exploration strategies, specialization vs diversification choices and type of innovation. The study is performed on a sample of 1,280 patents granted to 66 top R&D spending bio-pharmaceutical companies. The year of analysis is 2010.


The previous recourse to specific innovation practices influences the current practice selection. R&D collaboration, outsourcing and mergers and acquisitions are employed to pursue exploration. Past purchase of patents increases the likelihood to achieve architectural and radical innovation in current activities.

Research limitations/implications

The work recommends the use of patent data to gauge many key elements for knowledge and innovation management. Results exhort scholars to investigate innovation practices at the knowledge domain level in order to detect specific behaviors.

Practical implications

The study provides a methodology for supporting decision-makers in assessing firms’ OI adoption, also performing the benchmark with competitors and R&D partners. Given the high computational effort required for applying the methodology, the authors are planning to give access to the software specifically developed for this study.


The work contributes to the current debate considering the effect of a combination of innovation practices on knowledge management strategies and type of innovation output, with a particular focus on OI activities. Moreover, the separation between the impact of previous and current innovation practices provides useful insights.



Cammarano, A., Caputo, M., Lamberti, E. and Michelino, F. (2017), "Open innovation and intellectual property: a knowledge-based approach", Management Decision, Vol. 55 No. 6, pp. 1182-1208.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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