An Unconventional Approach to Intellectual Property Protection: The Case of an Australian Firm Transferring Shipbuilding Technologies to China

McGaughey, Sara L.; Liesch, Peter W.; Poulson, Duncan
March 2000
Journal of World Business;Spring2000, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Risks associated with the dissipation of intellectual property rights of foreign firms transferring technology to China have received some attention in the academic and professional, trade-based literature. An innovative Australian manufacturer and designer of large, high-speed catamaran ferries (INCAT) recently entered into a joint venture with a Hong Kong-based partner (AFAI) to manufacture ferries in China, without any formal, institutional protection of its proprietary knowledge. Key findings uncovered through an in-depth analysis of this case include the identification of novel bundles of firm-specific resources and capabilities that sustain a firm's intellectual property and, ultimately, its competitive advantage in the face of dissipation risks, and a combinative competency of the firm in creating these bundles. This study illustrates a case in which the conventional means of protecting intellectual property need not always be followed to best ensure the firm's retaining its competitive positioning in foreign markets.


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