Innovation and IPRs in China and India

Volume 4 of the series China-EU Law Series pp 75-117


Does Patent Strategy Shape the Long-Run Supply of Public Knowledge?

Evidence from Human Genetics
  • Kenneth Guang-Lih HuangAffiliated withDivision of Engineering and Technology Management & Department of Strategy and Policy, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore Email author 
  • , Fiona E. MurrayAffiliated withSloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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How do firms’ patent strategies, and the landscape of private property rights they collectively produce, influence the long-run production of public knowledge? Management scholars have paid close attention to the ways in which firms benefit from public knowledge—ideas disclosed through open commons institutions—by using it to generate private knowledge, which is protected by private property institutions such as patents (Cockburn and Henderson 1998; Cohen and Levinthal 1990; Fleming and Sorenson 2004; Powell et al. 1996). However, they have paid scant attention to the converse relationship: the impact of private knowledge on public knowledge production. Instead, legal and policy analyses dominate the study of this relationship (Heller 2008; Heller and Eisenberg 1998; Lessig 2004). This situation speaks to the importance of a management perspective linking policy and legal studies with organizational theory and strategy that can initiate a rich agenda examining the interaction between firm strategy and the institutional foundations of knowledge work.