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The evolution of technology licensing management: identifying five strategic approaches

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Besides applying technology in new products inside the organization, industrial firms may actively license technology to external partners. There is anecdotal evidence that firms have increasingly licensed technology in recent years in order to achieve monetary and non-monetary benefits. However, prior research into the evolution of licensing activities and into the management of these activities is relatively limited. Therefore, we rely on an exploratory research design and collect unique data by means of 57 interviews in 25 industrial firms over a 5-year period. On this basis, we identify five different strategic approaches to licensing management. In addition, we examine the relationship between the firms' licensing management and licensing activity. Finally, we analyze the development of the firms' licensing management over the 5-year period. The results considerably deepen our understanding of licensing management, and they provide new insights into interfirm differences in the success of active licensing programs. The findings have major implications for research into technology licensing, knowledge exploitation, open innovation, and markets for technology.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Mannheim, Department of Management and Organization Schloss, D-68131 Mannheim, Germany., Email:

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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