Innovation and Intellectual Property Strategies of Multinational Enterprises

Minyuan Zhao, Management, The Wharton School; Juan Alcacer, Harvard Business School; and Karin Beukel, University of Copenhagen

Abstract: While there has been a growing literature on the globalization of R&D and intellectual property (IP) strategies, most of the extant studies are conducted at a specific location or a specific point in time. The three projects in this program aim to provide a holistic view of firms’ global R&D footprint, and to integrate IP strategies into firms’ overall globalization efforts. In the first project, we explore the when, where, and whys in MNEs’ global patenting decisions. With significant differences across countries in legal regimes, market prospects, and local competition, patenting around the world should be a coordinated strategic effort, not local tactics in isolation. In the second project, we argue that the IP environments faced by MNEs are not exogenous, especially in countries with significant political discretion. We study how a firm’s entry strategies affect its ability to appropriate value from its IP in the host country. In the third project, we analyze how the hierarchical structure – specifically the headquarters-subsidiary relationship – is intertwined with technology structure within multinational firms. From three different angles, these projects will further our understanding of firms’ global R&D and IP strategies given external and internal constraints.

Michelle Eckert is Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Mack Institute, where she works to engage students, researchers, and corporate partners in opportunities for collaboration. Michelle received her B.A. in Art from Valparaiso University in 2007. Her background includes two AmeriCorps terms of service working to teach mathematics, computer literacy, and job readiness skills to out-of-school youth in Philadelphia, focusing particularly on promoting access to post-secondary education.