Joining Standards Organizations: The Role of R&D Expenditures, Patents, and Product-Market Position

November 19, 2018

This paper studies collaborative innovation in the context of the development of open technology standards coordinated by standards organizations. Using consolidated longitudinal data from the world's largest R&D performing firms matched with membership information from 180 standards organizations, the authors analyze the firm-level determinants of the extent of participation in standards development.  The major findings can be summarized as follows

  • A highly robust positive effect of a firm's R&D expenditure on its involvement in standards organizations, with this impact being further bolstered by the firm's patenting intensity and/or product-market position.

  • A causal positive effect of patenting intensity on the participation of R&D-intensive firms in standards organizations.

  • The significant role of the firm's product-market position in incentivizing engagement in standards development, as exemplified by trademarking intensity, brand value or number of standard-compliant end product model.

The authors conclude by noting that their results highlight the role of the patent system for the functioning of standrda development., They also argue that policies increasing the value of patents have a positive effect of firm participation in standards organizations.

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