Knowledge and intellectual property management in customer-supplier relationships

Jaakko Paasi (Corresponding Author), Tuija Luoma, Katri Valkokari, N. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of the paper is to empirically study firms' practises of knowledge and intellectual property (IP) management in customer–supplier relationships. The work applies the qualitative methodology of multiple case studies, and the material was collected in semi-structured interviews with management personnel at 36 organisations in Finland and in the Netherlands. Almost every firm had innovation relationships with their customers and suppliers, but the forms these relationships took, and the kinds of practices they involved, varied greatly. As a result, the firms considered the management of knowledge and IP in these relationships very challenging. We argue that by distinguishing knowledge management in the exploration phase of new business from knowledge management in the exploitation phase of innovation outcome, the firms could manage the knowledge and IP better. Accordingly, the paper introduces three propositions to support the knowledge and IP management in customer–supplier relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-654
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Knowledge management
  • intellectual property
  • innovation
  • customer-supplier relationship


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