Intellectual properties (IP) has been playing an increasingly important role in firms’ globalization efforts. On the one hand, multinational enterprises (MNEs) are spreading their value chains across multiple countries, forcing them to come up with coordinated strategies to develop and defend IPs on a global basis. On the other hand, institutions in different countries are as diverse as ever, so MNEs have to tailor their IP strategies to the specific environment in each country. This research program examines the unique international aspects of IP strategies, and the interaction between firm strategies and institutional environments. With a dataset linking the business activities of Fortune 500 companies with their patenting and litigation behaviors in all major economies, we are able to separate the role of IP as a strategic tool from the role of IP as a proxy for innovation, thus taking a more holistic view of IP strategies of MNEs.
Minyuan Zhao is an Associate Professor of Management at Wharton. Minyuan’s research examines the interactions between firm strategy and external environment in a global context: How emerging market institutions affect firms’ global strategies, and how firms’ strategic organization across borders shapes the global economic landscape. Her papers on multinational R&D strategies received first place in the 2003 INFORMS Dissertation Proposal Competition, the BPS Best Paper Award at the Academy of Management in 2004, and the Best Conference Paper Award at the Strategic Management Society in 2006. Her work has been published in top journals such as Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, and Journal of Economics and Management Studies. Prior to joining Wharton, Minyuan was on the faculty of Ross School of Business (Michigan) and before that, Carlson School of Management (Minnesota). She was the recipient of the 2012 Teaching Excellence Award from the Michigan EMBA program and the 2013 Best Educator Award from the NUS-UCLA EMBA program. She also had work experience in entrepreneurship, government think tank, and the automotive industry.