Dealing with intellectual property (IP) landmines: Defensive measures to address the problem of IP access

Jiyoon Chung, Annika Lorenz, Deepak Somaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intellectual property (IP) rights have become an important strategic battleground, in which IP owners increasingly build barriers that impede firms from operating in the marketplace. Although research has examined property preemption as one approach to defend against being blocked by others’ IP, a broader palette of defensive IP measures to address problems of missing access to external IP has received less scrutiny. In quantitative analyses of a representative survey of German firms, we find that key firm-level attributes—firm scope, innovation expenses, product innovation, collaboration breadth, and use of patents—are associated with a need to use such defensive IP measures. We also examine the firm-level attributes associated with a firm's choice among eight possible types of strategies for IP defense, and how certain types of defensive IP measures are systematically interrelated in use. Qualitative interviews with seventeen intellectual property practitioners complement, and help to interpret, our quantitative findings. Implications for future research, and for managers and policymakers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103828
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Defensive measures
  • Freedom to innovate
  • IP access problem
  • Intellectual property
  • Strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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