"The research I intend to carry out will shed some systematic light on the strategic motives that lead companies to disclose openly technical knowledge. Put poorely, open disclosure means that companies do not attach any form of property rights to it, like in the case of patents or formal contractual agreements. This behaviour is against the traditional justification of intellectual property rights – especially the patent system – where inventors are granted temporary monopoly over their inventions in exchange for the disclosure of the technical details of the latter. Yet, in a strategic setting, companies might be willing to disclose knowledge openly in order to block rivals’ future patent applications and hence secure their own competitive position. Recent examples of companies promoting open disclosure abound, from the field of software and electronics to genomics. The investigation of this phenomenon is rather scarce and has mostly remained theoretical and anecdotic. This project will draw from the existing contributions in theoretical Industrial Organization, IPR Law, Innovation Management and recent advancements in bibliometric (publication data) studies to derive theory-informed predictions and provide the first systematic empirical evidence of the extent and effectiveness of open disclosure strategies. Its first aim is to build a comprehensive database which meaningfully links measures of open disclosure to firm-level innovation strategies, financial and innovation performance. The subjects that will be investigated are the effectiveness of different measures of open disclosure to prevent competitors obtaining IPRs, the relation of open disclosure with other appropriation strategies such as patents and secrecy, and the competitive settings in which this strategy are more effective. The results of this study can spur theoretical research and will have insightful implications for the design of corporate strategies as well as innovation and competition policies"
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