Patents have long been assumed to provide firms with competitive advantage, but longitudinal results suggest that some types of patent content provide more enduring advantage than others do. The duration of advantage appeared to wane with time in the highly-dynamic U.S. communications-services industry during a period when technological changes occurred rapidly within it (1998–2012). Results suggest patents integrating technology streams that were different from the technologies of focal-patents’ grants contributed more to sustaining firms’ profit margins during this period than did focal patents that exploited extant technological knowledge. We found that firms who continually pushed their organization’s knowledge envelope outward to incorporate more unknown technologies sustained higher profit margins for a longer duration of time than did firms whose patented inventions were predominantly incremental — even within difficult settings where competition grew so intense that firms’ average operating margins were deteriorating.
Harrigan, Kathryn, and Maria Chiara DiGuardo. "Sustainability of Patent-based Competitive Advantage in the Communications Services Industry." Journal of Technology Transfer (forthcoming).
Each author name for a Columbia Business School faculty member is linked to a faculty research page, which lists additional publications by that faculty member.
Each topic is linked to an index of publications on that topic.