Click Here to Agree: Managing Intellectual Property When Crowdsourcing Solutions
21 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2017 Last revised: 25 Jul 2017
Date Written: January 5, 2017
Tapping into the creativity of a crowd can provide a highly efficient and effective means of acquiring ideas, work, and content to solve problems. But crowdsourcing solutions can also come with risks, including the legal risks associated with intellectual property. Therefore, we raise and address a two-part question: Why — and how — should organizations deal with intellectual property issues when engaging in the crowdsourcing of solutions? The answers lie in understanding the approaches for acquiring sufficient intellectual property from a crowd and limiting the risks of using that intellectual property. Herein, we discuss the hazards of not considering these legal issues and explain how managers can use appropriate terms and conditions to balance and mitigate the risks associated with soliciting solutions from a crowd. Based on differences in how organizations acquire intellectual property and limit associated risks, we identify and illustrate with examples four approaches for managing intellectual property (passive, possessive, persuasive, and prudent) when crowdsourcing solutions. We conclude with recommendations for how organizations should use and tailor the approaches in our framework to source intellectual property from a crowd.
Keywords: Open Innovation, User Innovation, Innovation, Crowdsourcing, Crowds, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Trademarks, IP, Threadless, Nintendo, Doritos, Moleskin, Ben & Jerry's
JEL Classification: M1, M10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation