The Protection and Deployment of (In)Imitatble Resources
38 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2008
Date Written: February 19, 2008
This paper makes the following contributions to technology and innovation management theory. First, it identifies specific actions firms take to protect critical resources such as technological discoveries. Second, it examines the extent to which these actions expedite or impede resource imitation by competitors. It provides greater theoretical clarity on the link between resource attributes, resource deployment, and their imitation by competitors. Thirdly, it proposes that the interaction between resource attributes and how firms deploy these resources predict the probability and timing of resource imitation. Lastly, it begins to explicate how particular resources are susceptible to imitation. We empirically assess the imitability construct under this multi-dimensional framework. Using patent data from 25 years of ongoing invention in the financial innovation domain, we determine that patents with greater external linkages were imitated more quickly by rivals, while resource visibility actually may extend the gestation period of a patent's technological advantage. Other findings suggest that greater visibility interacts with resource innovativeness and external linkages to accelerate imitation.
Keywords: resource imitation, intellectual property, resource-based view
JEL Classification: L84, O31, O32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation