Right person in the right place: How the host country IPR influences the distribution of inventors in offshore R&D projects of multinational enterprises

Kannan SRIKANTH, Singapore Management University


Prior work has shown that the strength of the intellectual property regime (IPR) in a host country influences offshore R&D to that country. Building on this work we propose that the strength of the IPR in a host country differentially influences the threat of knowledge leakage on projects that are produced for the location where the multinational firm is headquartered (home) versus the offshore location to which the R&D project is sent (host). We argue and show that when the host location has a weak IPR, fewer host inventors are involved in host R&D projects when compared to home R&D projects. We test our hypotheses using a dataset of patents held by US assignees, but coinvented in 43 host locations with differing IPR strength.