A Handbook of Contemporary Research
Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Rochelle C. Dreyfuss and Katherine J. Strandburg
Chapter 9: Open Innovation and the Private-collective Model for Innovation Incentives
9 Open innovation and the privatecollective model for innovation incentives Eric von Hippel and Georg von Krogh* I. INTRODUCTION We define an innovation as ‘open’ when design information about that innovation, as well as contextual information others would need to understand, reproduce, modify and improve that design, are offered on equal terms to all at no charge.1 Open revealing is the feature of open innovation that makes it possible to have collaborative design processes in which all can participate, as is famously the case in open source software projects.2 Open revealing of findings, discoveries and knowledge is also a defining characteristic of what Paul David and colleagues call open science.3 Discussions of intellectual property law often assume that if patents are not available, inventors will resort to trade secrecy if they are able to do so. Empirical research findings and theoretical considerations we will discuss in this chapter show that this need not be, and often is not, the case. In this chapter, we begin by reviewing the empirical evidence on open * Eric von Hippel is T. Wilson Professor of Innovation Management and Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT. Georg von Krogh is Professor of Strategic Management and Innovation at ETH Zurich. We greatly appreciate assistance received from Florian Bertram. This chapter is based on Eric von Hippel and Georg von Krogh, Free Revealing and the Private-Collective Model for Innovation Incentives, 36 R&D Mgmt. 3 (2006). 1 Definitions of ‘open innovation’ are not uniform among scholars today. Notably, some...
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