Modularity and Intellectual Property Protection

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Modularity and Intellectual Property Protection

Citable link to this page


Title: Modularity and Intellectual Property Protection
Author: Baldwin, Carliss Young; Henkel, Joachim

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Baldwin, Carliss Y., and Joachim Henkel. "Modularity and Intellectual Property Protection." Strategic Management Journal 36, no. 11 (November 2015): 1637–1655.
Full Text & Related Files:
Abstract: Modularity is a means of partitioning technical knowledge about a product or process. When state-sanctioned intellectual property (IP) rights are ineffective or costly to enforce, modularity can be used to hide information and thus protect IP. We investigate the impact of modularity on IP protection by formally modeling the threat of expropriation by agents. The principal has three options to address this threat: trust, licensing, and paying agents to stay loyal. We show how the principal can influence the value of these options by modularizing the system and by hiring clans of agents, thus exploiting relationships among them. Extensions address screening and signaling in hiring, the effects of an imperfect legal system, and social norms of fairness. We illustrate our arguments with examples from practice.
Published Version:
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at
Citable link to this page:
Downloads of this work:

Show full Dublin Core record

This item appears in the following Collection(s)


Search DASH

Advanced Search