Do firms really benefit from Open Innovation? An econometric assessment based on transfers of patent ownership rights.
This study investigates the relationship between firms’ activity on markets for technology and their performance. Specifically, the study utilizes novel data on the transfer of patent ownership rights – patent sales – in order to generate new insights on how firms can benefit from external technology acquisition strategies. Existing scholarship describes a trend whereby firms, to an increasing extent, rely on external sources of technology to develop their innovations and suggests that external technology allows firms to develop innovation faster, cheaper and at lower risk. Although these claims are supported by anecdotal evidence and case studies, empirical studies investigating the effects of external technology acquisition on firm performance have suffered from a lack of large-scale systematic data on technology transactions. Patent sales data offer systematic accounts of technology transactions on a previously unprecedented scale. This property of patent sales data provides a solid basis for studying the effects of firms’ technology acquisition strategies on their performance. By empirically investigating these effects, the study contributes to evolving debates on the viability of open forms of innovation and the functioning of technology markets.