Coopetition - collaboration between competitors: the role of intellectual property protection, knowledge spillovers and coopetitive portfolios

Nina Karthaus

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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To understand why and how competing firms such as Pfizer and BioNTech choose to join forces in their innovation process, this dissertation investigates the concept of coopetition – simultaneous collaboration and competition. Coopetition is risky, as partners remain rivals. To diminish risks, firms often draw on formal and informal tools (e.g. patents or secrecy) to protect their intellectual property from being exploited. Yet, the specific role of using such protection within coopetition remains unclear. Therefore, this dissertation studies firms’ likelihood to coopete depending on their chosen protection mechanisms, and how especially informal tools affect knowledge spillovers in coopetition for innovation. Moreover, this thesis acknowledges that many firms find themselves dealing with coopetitive portfolios – different combinations of collaboration partners with at least one competitor. Particularly, it explores which different partner blends increase or decrease a firm’s likelihood to innovate. Overall, this thesis provides evidence that collaboration between competitors can be beneficial for firms and society as a whole, if it is managed with care.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Letterie, Wilko, Supervisor
  • Lokshin, Boris, Co-Supervisor
Award date23 Mar 2022
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464237023
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Coopetition
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Knowledge spillovers
  • Coopetitive portfolios

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