2020

The Importance of Tacit Knowledge: Dynamic Inventor Activity in the Commercialization Phase

Reprint No. 2020:62

Author(s): Per Botolf Maurseth and Roger SvenssonYear: 2020 Title: Research Policy Volume (No.): 49 (7)
Online article (restrictions may apply)
Preliminary version


Inventors generally know more about their inventions than what is written down in patent applications. Because they possess this tacit knowledge, inventors may need to play an active role when patents are commercialized. We build on Arora (1995) and model firm-inventor cooperation in the commercialization of a given invention. Tacit knowledge warrants inventor activity. However, imperfect IPRs may reduce inventors’ incentives to engage in the commercialization process. We analyze when first-best inventor activity is achieved in a two-stage contract. In the empirical part, we analyze when inventor activity is important for the successful commercialization of patents by using a detailed patent database. The database contains unique information on inventor activity, patent commercialization modes and the profitability of commercialization. In the empirical estimations, we find that inventor activity has a strong positive correlation with profitability when a patent is sold or licensed to another firm. When a patent is sold or licensed in the second phase, it is still inventor activity in the first phase that matters for profitability. Thus, our interpretation is that tacit knowledge and close cooperation between inventors and external firms are often crucial for the successful commercialization of patents.


Reference:
Maurseth, Per Botolf and Roger Svensson (2020), "The Importance of Tacit Knowledge: Dynamic Inventor Activity in the Commercialization Phase". Research Policy 49(7), .

Roger Svensson

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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