Innovation and Intellectual Property:

Firm Strategies and Policy Challenges in a Rapidly Changing World

Penn Wharton China Center

Beijing, China

June 28-29, 2019

Global competition is increasingly characterized by competition for technological leadership. Meanwhile, given the increasingly prominent roles of intellectual properties (IPs), technology standards, and business platforms, the boundary between firm competitiveness and institutional infrastructure is blurring. As manifested in the recent trade dispute between the U.S. and China, states have come to the forefront of market competition. Because the development of global markets requires coordinated efforts by public and private entities across countries, any shift from coordination to conflict can quickly escalate to systematic risks to the global economy.

It is in this context that we call for participation in this conference. Among other topics, we would like to engage in in-depth, cross-disciplinary discussion on the following:

·       Finding facts: What are the realities on the ground and what are the important trends that may shed light to the future? Many public discussions so far are based on entrenched opinions and stereotypical views. We are providing a public good if we can simply identify the facts and establish robust explanations for the facts.

·       Understanding complexities: Is strong IP protection always good? Is knowledge spillover always bad? To what extent do our understanding about IP, derived mostly from domestic settings, still hold in the highly dynamic context of global competition? What is the right level of indigenous R&D given all the interdependence—and the vulnerability thereof—in the global economy?

·       Developing toolboxes: Besides strengthening the IP courts, what are the tools that policy makers can use to motivate innovation while reducing systematic risk? Besides filing for patents, what are the tools businesses can use to navigate the risky R&D processes, both within and across countries? Will big data help firms see their competitive position more clearly?

This conference will be divided into two parts: In the afternoon of June 28, we will engage in intensive academic discussions, taking stock of what we know and brainstorming what we can do as academics. All day June 29, we will open the floor to scholars, business executives, IP lawyers, and policy makers, featuring keynote speeches and round-table discussions. This is an opportunity for practitioners to learn about new research and for researchers to receive reality check on their work. The number of participants will be capped at 80 for both days.

For consideration for presentation at the conference, please submit a research summary no longer than 2 pages to Changqi Wu of Guanghua School of Management ([log in to unmask]) and Minyuan Zhao of the Wharton School ([log in to unmask]) no later than May 17th. Attach a PowerPoint deck or working paper if you have one. For those wishing to participate without presenting, please submit your curriculum vitae, indicating why you wish to participate and whether you would be willing to serve as a discussant. We will send out the decisions before May 31st. For logistic details, please contact Ms. Xiaoxi Liu at [log in to unmask].

This conference is co-sponsored by the China Research and Engagement Fund of the University of Pennsylvania (, the Wharton School, the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, the College of Business at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and SHU-UTS SILC Business School of Shanghai University. There is no registration fee for the conference. The co-sponsors will cover all meals for conference participants. We will also cover up to two nights of hotel accommodation for the selected presenters. Feel free to share this invitation with colleagues who are potentially interested.


Minyuan Zhao

University of Pennsylvania

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