Intellectual Property

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Finding the Right Corporate Legal Strategy

How can companies use the law to gain strategic advantages? Some companies move beyond viewing the law just in terms of compliance and use their legal environment to secure a competitive advantage. Companies can adopt one of five types of legal strategies: avoidance, compliance, prevention, value or transformation. The right strategy for a company will depend on factors such as its business model, managers’ attitudes toward the law and the legal department’s ability to collaborate with managers.

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From the Editor: Innovation and China

In today’s global economy, there aren’t many large companies that can afford to ignore China in their plans for growth. The Summer 2014 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review features a special report on China, with insights about how to learn from China, what the future may hold for the Chinese economy — and how to do business in China despite the challenges of protecting intellectual property there.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ming Xia.

Protecting Intellectual Property in China

“By operating in China, overseas businesses expose their intellectual property to risk,” write Andreas Schotter (Ivey Business School at Western University) and Mary Teagarden (Thunderbird School of Global Management). “But deciding to stay away entails the even greater risk of missing opportunities to acquire knowledge that is critical for competitiveness across a wide range of global markets.” To protect their IP, companies need to control and manage their IP vulnerabilities proactively.

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Fighting “Not-Sold-Here” Tendencies

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“Not-sold-here” tendencies, the instinct to not want to give away a company’s “crown jewels” through strategic licensing, are an impediment for companies looking to pursue open innovation practices. Monetary and non-monetary incentive mechanisms in support of technology transfer, such as an open innovation award, can help break this instinct.

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Measuring user innovation

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A new working paper examines the prevalence — and policy implications — of innovations that come from technology users.

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Motivated to innovate

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Looking to spark innovation in your R&D workforce? Look for employees who are motivated by intellectual challenges — but not by job security.

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What Was Obvious No Longer Is

U.S. patent law says that you can’t patent an invention that is “obvious.” However, in the 2007 case KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc. et. al., the Supreme Court raised the standard for showing that an invention is not obvious and is therefore worthy of a patent.

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Benefiting from Rivals’ Breakthroughs

Common sense would dictate that a competitor’s breakthrough is bad news for a company. But the company’s investors might think otherwise. Anita M. McGahan, Everett W. Lord Distinguished Faculty Scholar and professor at Boston University’s School of Management, and Brian S. Silverman, J.R.S.

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