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Type: Journal article
Title: Firm patenting, innovations, and government institutional support as a double-edged sword
Author: Shu, C.
Wang, Q.
Gao, S.
Liu, C.
Citation: Journal of Product Innovation Management, 2015; 32(2):290-305
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0737-6782
Statement of
Chengli Shu, Qin Wang, Shanxing Gao, Cuijuan Liu
Abstract: In 2012, China was ranked fourth in patent filing by region of origin. However, firm innovation quality is not comparable to such quantity. Evidence of this is that no Chinese organization was named as a Thomson Reuters 2011 or 2012 Top 100 Global Innovators. This paradox of firm patenting and innovations in China challenges the traditional understanding of the role of government in industrial innovation. This paper provides a theoretical lens through which to examine traditional protective and strategic patenting motives. Based on institutional theory and the ultimate goals of patenting motives, the paper posits that protective patenting motives are directly law‐based while strategic patenting motives are largely law‐derived. The paper also aims to empirically examine three questions: (1) What is the relative importance of various patenting motives to firm patenting behaviors? (2) What effects do patenting behaviors have on firm product and process innovations? (3) How, if at all, does governmental institutional support affect firm patenting and innovations? This paper uses dominant analysis, structural equation modeling, and regression analysis to analyze the survey data collected from a sample of 270 firms in China. The empirical results provide new evidence about firm patenting, innovations, and government institutional support. First, the order of relative importance of patenting motives to patenting behaviors was found to be (in the descending order of importance) reputation, exchange, blocking, and protection. Second, patenting behaviors were more relevant to product innovations than to process innovations. Third, more importantly, while government institutional support can enhance the effects of protective patenting motives on patenting behaviors, it can mitigate the effects of strategic patenting motives on patenting behaviors. Moreover, government institutional support reduces the positive effect of patenting behaviors on product innovations. These findings suggest that firm patenting and innovations are distinct activities, and that government institutional support acts as a double‐edged sword in firm patenting and innovations: On the one hand government institutional support—an extralegal formal institution—may work alongside the patent system—a law‐based formal institution—to advance science and technology, but on the other hand government institutional support may distract firms from commercializing patented knowledge into new products. This paper primarily contributes to institutional theory, new product development literature, and innovation management practice by revealing the dynamics between two different types of formal institutions—patent system and government institutional support—by establishing an institution‐based view of patenting motives, by empirically distinguishing firm patenting and innovations, and more interestingly by uncovering a double‐edged role of government institutional support in firm patenting and innovations.
Rights: © 2014 Product Development & Management Association
RMID: 0030076607
DOI: 10.1111/jpim.12230
Appears in Collections:Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation, and Innovation Centre publications

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