Owners of knowledge sometimes choose to disclose their private innovations to the public domain. Such behaviors are called knowledge disclosure. Once disclosed, the private innovation becomes public knowledge and is no longer patentable. Since it is long believed that private companies take various measures to securely protect their proprietary innovations, the question of how firms benefit from disclosing innovations is worth exploring. Employing a very unique dataset of IBM innovation disclosures, I empirically investigate firms’ strategic disclosures of private innovation. I further study how such disclosures affect other firms’ patented innovation and the focal firm’s selective exploitation of follow-up innovation.
This is the first few empirical research studying firm’s innovation disclosures and its findings shed lights on firm’s intellectual management strategies.