IPR-Beachheads. Babcock & Wilcox's Business and Innovation Strategies in Spain
UAM Working Papers in Economic History, nº 01/2015, ISSN: 1885-6888
31 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2019 Last revised: 28 Jun 2021
Date Written: 2015
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, American corporations began their multinational expansion to Europe through direct investments in the most-developed economies. Being increasingly aware of scientific and technological knowledge business value, they also began to develop early IPR international protection strategies in order to defend their intangible assets abroad. Before World War II, many of these multinationals had also reached lagging peripheral countries, resulting in a complex European network of subsidiaries and affiliates that has been scarcely studied. This paper delves into the Babcock & Wilcox entrepreneurial conglomerate – one of the most interesting case studies of early multinational expansion – to analyze how it arrived and developed in Spain, what its business and innovation strategies in that market were, and the role of patent management in that process. Our findings reveal that corporate interests in patent capture, control, and administration not only shifted research and innovation handling within firms but also led to quick learning on how to successfully use IPRs as business, legal, and organizational tools for international expansion.
Keywords: Babcock & Wilcox, Patents, Foreign Direct Investment, Spain
JEL Classification: F23, N84, O32, O33, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation