Let us introduce Sina of Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, which is in, let us guess... ...Colorado! Sina, you recently were runner up for an award at the 2021 Annual Meeting - congratulations! So…
What are your research interests right now?
My research interests revolve around intellectual property rights and how they shape innovation. I am particularly interested in the role of IP in the division of innovative labor and how different characteristics of resources, firms, and industries mediate this relationship. In my dissertation, for example, I explored the role of upstream IP rights on various forms of downstream innovation and the extent to which these IP rights affect the competition and collaboration between established and entrepreneurial firms. Also, I am currently working on the knowledge disclosure function of IP to better understand how innovation is disseminated through codification in a patent document.
What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?
One empirical contribution that I am particularly excited about is my accurately linking technologies and markets. While both these constructs are foundational in strategy, it is often difficult to make a precise linkage between the two. On the one side, technologies usually contribute to innovations in several markets and, on the other side, markets often comprise multiple technologies. Genes, however, play dual roles and can be considered as both technologies, which could be patented, and markets, where diagnostic firms can enter. These dual roles have provided an excellent opportunity for me to empirically test theories about markets, technologies, and more importantly, their interdependence.
At the 2021 Conference you were runner up to an award from TIM. Tell us about the paper and why you think its findings are important.
Innovation is the engine of our economic growth. In some cases, like the global pandemic we are currently experiencing, innovations such as vaccines and drugs can even be our means of survival. There is a longstanding debate in economics, policy, and law on whether and how IP rights help or hinder innovation. In my dissertation, I examine this question and, as a researcher of strategy and entrepreneurship, pay particular attention to the part that entrepreneurial and established firms play in the process. I take advantage of a policy shift in the US that suddenly invalidated an entire type of patent rights over genomic compounds and, in a quasi-experimental setting, examine the implications for the emergence of new diagnostic tests, formation of biopharmaceutical licensing deals, and progress of science. My findings show that the relationship between upstream IP and downstream innovation largely depends on the firm- and industry-related factors. For instance, when complementary assets for commercialization are easy to access, like in genetic testing, upstream IP tends to impede innovation. Conversely, when the requisite complementary assets are difficult to acquire, like in drug development, I find a positive impact of upstream IP on downstream innovation. With regards to science and purely basic research, I do not find any significant impact from IP, which is in line with the arguments about the leniency of IP owners towards scientific institutions. In combination, these findings shed light on various aspects and mechanisms through which IP shapes innovation and further our understanding of how innovations emerge.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
It doesn’t get more personal than my name, does it? In Persian, my last name, Khoshsokhan, literally means well-spoken, which now seems quite ironic given how difficult it is for many of my friends to pronounce it.
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