Purpose This study explores the relationship between local intellectual property rights (IPRs) protection and firm performance in China and analyzes the moderating roles of firm ownership nature, industry competition intensity,and industry technology intensity in the relationship between local IPR protection and firm performance.
Methodology This study adopts a methodology that combines theoretical analysis with empirical tests, and macro-level analysis with micro-level analysis, based on data on Chinese listed firms.
Findings Local IPR protection has a significant positive effect on financial performance, market performance, and innovation performance of the listed companies; and ownership nature, industry competition intensity, industry technology intensity play different roles.
Research limited/implications This study has the following limitations: the measure of local IPR protection could have been more accurate; more industry- or regional-level contextual factors affecting the relationship between local IPR protection and firm performance could have been taken into consideration; mediation is not examined.
Practical implications This study provides a scientific, empirical basis for the acceleration of the reform aimed at making China’s IPR protection system more complete and perfect; it can help the government formulate a more targeted IPR protection system that takes industry characteristics into consideration; and it can help firms strengthen the cultivation and improvement of their R&D and technological innovation capabilities.
Originality/value Based on data on Chinese listed firms over the past decade and by constructing a provincial-level index as the measure of local IPR protection, this study theoretically analyzes and empirically tests the relationship between IPR protection and firm performance, and especially, explores the moderating roles of firm-level and industry-level contextual factors in the relationship.
Key words local intellectual property protection, innovation performance, financial performance, market performance
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