Interfirm knowledge transfer in joint patenting: a technological distance analysis

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Iryna Maliatsina
Jaan-Pauli Kimpimäki


In today’s highly competitive business environment, firms can ill afford the consequences of overlooking opportunities for innovation. An organization seeking to increase its existing knowledge base, in most cases, aims to identify and pursue useful knowledge available outside its borders. However, for companies interested in engaging in collaborative arrangements for innovations, systematic approaches for knowledge transfer may become a major challenge. In our research we focus on the diffusion of innovative knowledge that occurs during a joint knowledge development process. We present an empirical study spanning the period 2004 to 2018 which aims to explore the impact inter-organizational collaboration in the form of joint patenting has on the distance between partners’ technological bases. In addition, this paper looks into the change in technological distance when joint patenting occurs between different-country and same-country partners. The empirical results of the study suggest that engagement in joint patenting positively influences the technological proximity between partners and indicates a transmission and utilization of knowledge outside of firms’ existing knowledge base. Our findings contribute to knowledge related to innovation under inter?organizational collaboration and provides a basis for further theory development and testing.

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