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

Gianiodis, Peter and Brown, Jill A., The Protection and Deployment of (In)Imitatble Resources (February 19, 2008). Atlanta Competitive Advantage Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Peter Gianiodis (Contact Author)

Clemson University ( email )

101 Sikes Ave
Clemson, SC 29634
United States
864-656-7418 (Phone)

Jill A. Brown

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest St
Waltham, MA 02452
United States

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