Business, Government, and Society Relations

Read about Business, Government, and Society Relations research from faculty.

Daniel Cahoy and Lynda Oswald (2021). "Is Legal Harmonization Always Better? The Counter-Case of Utility Models." American Business Law Journal, 58 (3).

Policymakers and international institutions have long maintained that the global business environment is best supported when countries harmonize by adopting substantially uniform legal structures. This is particularly true in the context of intellectual property rights. When such national systems are similar, we believe that investment is undergirded, and market participation is facilitated. However, this assumption may be incorrect in some cases. Marginal disharmony in certain intellectual property rights may provide countries space for experimentation while not impeding effective management of global intellectual property portfolios at the firm level. As evidence, we look to the utility model. This longstanding form of invention right is conspicuously and surprisingly unstandardized across the world, yet our analysis, using PATSTAT data, reveals that firms are able to negotiate this disharmony effectively. We employ a novel empirical method that tracks U.S.-priority patents to establish that firms use utility models to optimize their overall appropriability needs by region. Our study finds evidence that a firm may choose standard patent protection in one region and utility model protection in another, even though standard patent protection is available in both settings. We propose that a “zone of appropriability preference” exists when utility models and standard patents overlap, and this zone provides important strategic opportunities to firms with global intellectual property portfolios. Our study thus provides an important counter-case for harmonization of national intellectual property laws. As a result, we suggest that such efforts be undertaken with more caution; in some cases, harmonization may do more harm than good.

Jamey A. Darnell, Michelle R. Darnell, and Shalini S. Gopalkrishnan. (2020) “Drivers of National Differences on Corporate Social Responsibility: The Role of Dominant Ethical Thought,” International Journal of Business and Social Science, 11 (10), October.

In this paper we aim to extend the nascent literature on national differences in CSR that has only examined a small number of countries. We use data from a relatively new and under-utilized source, namely, Bloomberg data on ESG performance spanning 187 countries. To extend beyond GDP as an explanation of variation between countries, we examine and find support for alternative measures to GDP (i.e. measures of well-being) such as happiness, freedom, and social support, and conceptually link these measures to specific ethical frameworks. We find evidence for what we call dominant ethical thought as an antecedent to CSR.

Daniel R. Cahoy, Zhen Lei, Yuxi Meng, and Seth Blumsack. (2017) “Global Patent Chokepoints,” Stanford Technology Law Review, Winter, pp. 213-244.

A firms patent strategy is commonly focused on excluding competition in the domestic market. Foreign patent rights may be sought, but the presumption is that they are valuable for a firm only if it has access to a foreign market through sales, licensing or foreign direct investment. However, in countries that are major manufacturing bases and international exporters, like China and India, a new strategy may be emerging: seeking patents solely to impact competition in external markets. This article describes this novel use of global patent chokepointsand presents empirical evidence that it is actually occurring. It considers patent filings in solar photovoltaics (PV) in China between 2002 and 2007 and demonstrates that the patent filings are  responsive to increases in solar PV production by Chinese rivals but not Chinese domestic installation. If this strategy is more widely adopted, pricing and access impacts for important health and sustainability technologies may result.

Terrence Guay. (2018) “Economic Sanctions,” in SAGE Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society, 2nd ed., (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE), pp. 1026-1028.