- Volume 17 Issue 3
The recent patent wars in the information technology (IT) industry demonstrate the strategic importance of IT patents in the industry. In this paper, we adopt the lens of real options to study the value of IT patents for IT firms. Specifically, we examine the relationship between IT patents and firms' market performance. We also consider the moderating effect of the innovation orientation of firms' patent portfolios (exploitative vs. explorative). Based on a large panel dataset consisting of 697 firms in US IT industries, our results suggest that the impact of IT patents on firm value (as measured by Tobin's q) is positive and significant. Further, we find that this impact varies, depending on the innovation orientation of firms' patent portfolios. IT patent portfolios with higher levels of an exploitative orientation are associated with higher firm value, compared to those with a lower exploitative orientation. This study highlights the value of employing real options theory as the underlying mechanism in understanding the impact of patents on firm valuation. Future researchers can adopt the real options lens to identify and empirically examine the role of other factors that may affect the value of patents and other investments exhibiting real option characteristics. While our paper answers some questions about the value of patents in the IT industry, it also raises a number of additional new questions. As such, we hope that it will generate more research on this important topic.
Supported by : 한국연구재단
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