DP5672 | Intellectual Property Rights and Entry into a Foreign Market: FDI vs Joint Ventures

Publication Date

10/05/2006

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Abstract

This paper investigates how the mode of entry into a foreign market can be influenced by the intensity of R&D in an industry and the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in a recipient country. It then analyzes the link between the IPR regime and policies that place limits on the degree of foreign ownership in a joint venture (JV). In particular, we study the effect of the IPR regime of the host country (South) on a multinational?s decision between serving a market via greenfield foreign direct investment to avoid the exposure of its technology or entering a JV with a local firm, which allows R&D spillovers to a third firm under imperfect IPRs. JV is the equilibrium market structure when extra rents can be gained from a JV. This occurs when R&D intensity is moderate and IPRs strong. The South can gain from increased IPR protection by encouraging a JV, whereas policies to limit foreign ownership in a JV gain importance in technology intensive industries as complementary policies to strong IPRs. The South never finds it optimal to fully protect IPRs and concede all bargaining power in a JV to the Northern firm.