Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 16, Issue 1–2, pp 109–135 | Cite as

Innovation strategy and the patenting behavior of firms

  • Carine PeetersEmail author
  • Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie
Regular Article


This paper investigates whether firms’ innovation strategies affect their patenting behavior, as measured by both the probability of having a patent portfolio and the number of active patents held. Three main dimensions of an innovation strategy are taken into account: the relative importance of basic research, applied research and development work in total R&D activities, the product or process orientation of innovation efforts, and the extent to which firms enter into collaborative R&D with other institutions. The major findings can be summarized as follows: (1) taking into account the various dimensions of an innovation strategy turns out to approximate the patenting behavior of firms better than the traditional Schumpeterian hypotheses related to firm size and market power; (2) there is a positive relationship between the patent portfolio of firms and an outward-oriented innovation strategy characterized by R&D partnerships with external organizations - scientific institutions and competitors in particular; (3) process-oriented innovators patent less than product-oriented innovators; (4) a stronger focus on basic and applied research is associated with a more active patenting behavior; (5) firms that perceive high barriers to innovation (internal, risk-related or external barriers) have smaller patent portfolios; (6) the perceived limitations of the patent system do not significantly influence the patenting behavior, suggesting that firms patent for other strategic reasons than merely protecting innovation rents.


Product innovation Innovation strategy Collaborative R&D Patent portfolio Patent system 

JEL Classification

O31 O32 O34 L25 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carine Peeters
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruno van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie
    • 2
  1. 1.The Fuqua School of BusinessDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Solvay Business SchoolUniversite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Centre Emile Bernheim, DULBEA and CEPRBrusselsBelgium

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