Intellectual Property Management: Internal Organization and External Exploitation

The increasing predominance of intangible assets such as intellectual property (IP) has moved the management of IP from a legal matter to a strategic issue. Today’s global competitive environment requires that firms increasingly create and capture value from IP. Although these challenges have recently been the subject of a burgeoning amount of research, there is still a severe scarcity of practical evidence showing how firms overcome these challenges. Therefore, this thesis empirically investigates how firms manage and leverage their IP to improve the effectiveness of their IP management. To this end, this thesis explores firms’ approaches to internal IP organization as well as external IP exploitation, i.e., out-licensing and selling of patents.

This thesis is a compilation of an introductory chapter and four individual, self-standing research articles. While the introductory chapter outlines in detail the motivation of the thesis and provides an overview of the current state of the art in literature, the subsequent four articles investigate distinct research questions pertaining to the management of IP. The first two articles investigate firms’ internal management of IP. Article one explores how firms manage and optimize their patent portfolios along the life cycle of a patent. Article two deals with how firms employ information technology (IT) tools to support and improve their IP management. Then, articles three and four address the external exploitation of IP. Article three investigates how firms approach external patent exploitation and which factors influence the specific approaches. Finally, article four explores a recent phenomenon where firms give away their patents free of charge and discusses why and for which benefits they do so.

By investigating the above questions in the respective research articles, this thesis augments existing research on the management of IP. In particular, the thesis explores hitherto unanswered questions and contributes with empirical findings to an otherwise empirically scarce research area. Furthermore, this thesis contributes to management practice by providing practical recommendations for how to improve the management and exploitation of intellectual property.