Tuesday, December 01, 2015


UTSA scholar encourages developing countries to strengthen intellectual property rights

Hamid Beladi

Hamid Beladi

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(Oct. 25, 2013) -- After several years of research in the field of international trade and intellectual property rights, Hamid Beladi, UTSA economics professor and associate dean of research for the UTSA College of Business, and his co-authors have determined that if a developing country strengthens its intellectual property rights policies, its local firms will be in a better position to specialize in and accept international research and development (R&D) contracts.

This finding fills a gap in the international trade policy literature by offering a new perspective on the importance of intellectual property rights affecting R&D activities in developing countries. The current literature discusses only the need for developing countries to strengthen their intellectual property rights to support local innovation, economic growth and technology.

In recent decades, increasing globalization has created an environment in which businesses rely on suppliers located in different countries to assist them with different stages of production. Today's multinational firms are under increasing pressure to reduce their R&D costs. In the same way that a wireless phone company based in the United States might outsource all or part of its customer service to a developing country to save costs, large multinational firms now are outsourcing the R&D phase of their new innovations to local firms in developing countries.

In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, the largest multinationals, such as Merck, Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson, are partnering with firms in developing countries such as India, China and Brazil to carry out sophisticated drug research and clinical testing.

The information technology industry also has witnessed the rapid expansion of offshore R&D outsourcing. Many multinational IT firms, including Dell, Motorola and Philips, are not only purchasing wireless phones from Asian developers but also many of the newest services available for mobile use.

"The question we wanted to answer was how these local firms could make adjustments to their intellectual property rights policies to be better prepared to work with multinational firms without getting taken advantage of," said Beladi. "Ultimately, our theory supports both the local and multinational firms in this era of internationalization of R&D activities."

Beladi and his co-authors suggest that strengthening intellectual property rights can have the following benefits on developing countries:

  • Both local firms and multinationals will begin to specialize in one stage of R&D, creating a "specialization effect"
  • Local firms that once were considered imitators or a threat to multinational firms will switch their position and become innovators or subcontractors of multinationals.
  • It increases the chance multinationals will subcontract R&D with local firms. This "subsidizing effect" is beneficial to both local and multinational firms.
  • Local firms will move into a better bargaining position and multinational firms are able to save significant costs by contracting their R&D to local firms.
  • Multinationals may increase their Foreign Direct Investment in a developing country by adding offshore R&D subsidiary companies within the developing country.

The researchers' findings will be forthcoming in a leading academic journal. Beladi hopes to be able to use the findings to influence policymakers in developing countries.

Nationally ranked and recognized, the UTSA College of Business is accredited by AACSB International and enrolls 5,200 students. The college is dedicated to raising its academic profile to become one of the best business schools.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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