The recent growth in inward and outward technology transfer, e.g., by means of technology licensing, reflects the new paradigm of open innovation. By actively acquiring and commercialising intellectual property in the technology markets, these open innovation processes contrast traditional closed innovation processes. Prior open innovation research has largely been limited to case studies and theoretical contributions, and other lines of research have focused either on inward or outward technology transfer without taking an integrative perspective. Therefore, I simultaneously consider inward and outward technology transfer as the two main directions of open innovation. On this basis, data from a survey of 154 industrial firms are used to test four hypotheses relating the size and quality of the corporate patent portfolio to a firm’s extent of external technology acquisition and external technology commercialisation. The results show that the corporate intellectual property portfolio constitutes a major determinant of opening up the innovation process.
Keywords: open innovation, intellectual property, external technology acquisition, external technology commercialisation, licensing