A case for non-globalization? The organisation of r&d in the wireless telecommunications industry

Di Minin AlbertoPalmberg Christopher

The offshoring of manufacturing has been the most visible ingredient of economic globalization in recent years. However, the rapid change in the global division of manufacturing has overshadowed another – and perhaps even more significant phenomena – namely the internationalization of the R&D and inventive activities of firms. In concrete terms this means that researchers and inventors increasingly tend to be located outside the domestic country of origin of firms, as captured in numerous empirical studies. This paper revisits the Žcase for non-globalizationŽ in the context of strategically important technologies in a truly global industry, namely the wireless telecommunications industry. It analyses, in comparative set-up, the evolution of the notified essential patent portfolios of four leading incumbents to assess to what degree and how R&D and inventive activity of this technological core of the industry is globalizing. Contrary to expectations the results clearly support the case for non-globalization. They thereby raise a range of important issues and research avenues related to the organization of R&D, locational advantages and IPR management of firms.

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Discussion Papers no. 1047
globalisation, research and development, wireless telecommunications, patents
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