Grasping the impalpable: Critical appraisal of the role of public policy for intangibles (D7.7)

Although, there are a number of policies to support the build-up and use of different components of intangible assets, policies for intangibles as a whole are often missing. Lacunae in policies are caused by a neglect of an inherent duality in the characteristics of intangibles that presents important challenges to policy making. On the one hand, intangible assets often play a central role in gaining competitive advantage. On the other hand, from a systemic point of view, individual ownership of intangible assets can limit the sharing and exchange of intangibles that is indispensable for what we call in this paper “intangibles commons”. Policy makers must balance the tensions between supporting firm-specific intangibles and ensuring growing intangibles commons. This paper conceptualizes the duality of intangible commons and subsequently explores the tensions arising, examines the gaps in our knowledge needed for effective policy making and presents a set of recommendations as to more appropriate policy making for intangibles.

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