Joining Standards Organizations: The Role of R&D Expenditures, Patents, and Product-Market Position

38 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2018

Date Written: November 19, 2018


This paper studies collaborative innovation in the context of the development of open technology standards coordinated by standards organizations. Using consolidated longitudinal data from the world's largest R&D performing firms matched with membership information from 180 standards organizations, we analyze the firm-level determinants of the extent of participation in standards development. We identify a highly robust positive effect of a firm's R&D expenditure on its involvement in standards organizations, and find this impact being further bolstered by the firm's patenting intensity and/or product-market position. Exploiting exogenous variations induced by preferential tax treatment, we find a causal positive effect of patenting intensity on the participation of R&D-intensive firms in standards organizations. This effect is, however, only significant for membership in organizations developing standards potentially subject to Standard-Essential Patents. Our findings also underscore the significant role of the firm's product-market position in incentivizing engagement in standards development, as exemplified by trademarking intensity, brand value or number of standard-compliant end product models. Managerial and policy implications are discussed.

Keywords: standards organizations, technology standards, intellectual property, R&D expenditures, patents, trademarks

JEL Classification: L24, O34

Suggested Citation

Baron, Justus and Li, Qian Cher and Nasirov, Shukhrat, Joining Standards Organizations: The Role of R&D Expenditures, Patents, and Product-Market Position (November 19, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Justus Baron (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Searle Center for Law, Regulation and Economic Growth ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States


Qian Cher Li

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

Shukhrat Nasirov

De Montfort University - Centre for Enterprise and Innovation ( email )

The Gateway
Leicester, LE1 9BH
United Kingdom


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