Intellectual property rights for governance in and of innovation systems

This chapter attempts to look upon the role of IPRs in different innovation systems – national, sectoral, corporate, university and military systems – in a governance perspective. The rapid advent of the pro-IP era from the 1980s on, embedded in the more grand and gradual emergence of a new type of economy dominated by intellectual capital, has generally transformed and strengthened various IP regimes in these innovation systems, with an increasing use of patent and licensing oriented regimes.

Availability of enforceable and valuable IPRs together with more large- scale R&D and complex new technologies, calling for more inter-firm technology collaborations and various forms of technology trade (licenses, small firms, services etc.) have fostered quasi-integrated corporate innovation systems. Seen in a governance perspective the IPR approach creates governance tools but also governance problems but so do other approaches to incentivizing and coordinating innovative activities as well. A re-evaluation of various approaches is needed, focussing on both incentivizing and coordinating functions, for sustaining efficient and effective innovation systems.

Published in Birgitte Andersen, Editor: Intellectual Property Rights: Innovation, Governance and the Institutional Environment, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2006, Ch.10, pp. 311–343.