In a Copenhagen pizza shop in 1984, the Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen launched the idea of short message service (SMS) messages. Although Makkonen is still reluctant in claiming sole credit for developing SMS technology, he is widely acknowledged as the father of SMS. Whereas the International Telecommunications Union recently estimated that nearly 200,000 text messages are sent every single second, this “reluctant father of SMS” did not make any money out of his invention. To explain this lack of financial gains, he acknowledged in a recent text-messaging interview with the BBC that “I didn't think I made a patentable innovation.”1
This anecdote clearly illustrates the criticality of Intellectual Property (IP) management to appropriate value from innovation and secure return on investment. Whereas IP management traditionally focused on allowing freedom of operation in R&D and mitigating the risk of imitation by competitors, firms increasingly apply it in combination with business strategy to fence or steer technological paths, to operate on secondary markets for technology, to respond to competitive moves, and to implement alternative business models. As a result, IP decisions often have dramatic consequences for a firm's business that reach far beyond the legal aspects of an IP-related dispute.
Although IP management has been investigated from a variety of theoretical and disciplinary perspectives, managers, scholars, and educators are still in need of practical examples and cases that illuminate the relevance, successes, and failures of particular IP management practices, strategies, and business models. In addition, companies are in continuous need for new IP management practices that allow them to respond to new opportunities and alternative modes of intra-firm and inter-firm innovation.
The purpose of this special issue is therefore to provide a collection of studies on how companies plan and execute new practices to manage IP assets, implement IP strategies, and …