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Cross-functional patent management in family firms

Abstract

Prior research shows that family firms differ from non-family firms with regard to intellectual property output. Yet, little is known about how family firms manage their intellectual property. This paper analyses the degree to which patent management in family firms is cross-functional. Patent management is a task that requires coordination across multiple functions in order to be fully effective. We find that in family-owned firms patent management is cross-functional to a higher degree than in non-family-owned firms. Within the group of family-owned firms, we find that family management has a positive impact on the degree to which patent management is cross-functional. We conclude that family firms are not only distinct with regard to intellectual property output but also regarding how they manage their intellectual property.

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Notes

  1. The same data set has been used by Jell et al. (2013) in a different context. These authors perform an analysis on the patent level, with a focus on the pendency duration of applications.

  2. See http://www.firmendatenbank.de (accessed August 17, 2012).

  3. See http://www.wer-zu-wem.de/ (accessed August 17, 2012).

  4. See https://www.lexisnexis.com/de/business/ (accessed August 17, 2012).

  5. See https://www.ebundesanzeiger.de (accessed August 17, 2012).

  6. See http://www.epo.org/patents/patent-information/raw-data/test/product-14-24.html (accessed August 17, 2012).

  7. For public firms, we use the 30 % voting power threshold, defined by the German Securities Acquisition and Takeover Act (WpÜG §29 Abs. 2).

  8. As robustness checks we changed the thresholds of 50 % (30 %) for private (public) firms. See robustness checks section.

  9. These 44 firms were mostly large multi-division firms such as ABB, Henkel, and BMW.

  10. See http://www.signo-deutschland.de/unternehmen/content/e4154/e4422/index_ger.html (accessed January 5, 2012).

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Correspondence to Joern H. Block.

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Jell, F., Block, J.H., Henkel, J. et al. Cross-functional patent management in family firms. J Bus Econ 85, 181–203 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11573-014-0732-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11573-014-0732-6

Keywords

  • Family firms
  • Innovation
  • Patent management
  • Cross-functional management

JEL Classification

  • L26
  • O31
  • O34