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

Author(s): Dermot Leahy, Alireza Naghavi
Publication Date: May 2006
Keyword(s): bargaining, development, FDI policy, intellectual property rights, joint ventures, R&D spillovers, technology transfer
JEL(s): F13, F23, L24, O24, O32, O34
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5672

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.