It is worth discussing whether the judicial strengthening of intellectual property rights (IPR) can really serve the innovation-driven strategy in China under the realistic problems that the legal environment of IPR is different, market competition is fierce, and the innovation output still needs to be increased in quality and quantity. Fierce market competition will distort the innovation-incentive effect of IPR judicial strengthening and go against the original intention of the rule of law system.
Based on the perspectives of fierce R&D competition among enterprises, infringement imitation behavior and free knowledge spillover, this paper constructs a heterogeneous decision-making model of R&D investment. In terms of empirical analysis, the industry average patent knowledge width is used as the boundary to divide different R&D competitive structure industries, and the number of judicial case documents obtained by “crawling technology + manual sorting” is selected as the index of judicial strengthening. It implicitly takes into account the heterogeneous social impact of legal cases based on the severity of the case, assigning a natural weighting to the indicator.
Theoretical analysis and empirical results show that: The judicial strengthening of IPR only has an incentive effect on R&D in industries with high R&D depth and low competition. The “Schumpeter effect” is dominant and the R&D gap between enterprises is large. The innovation incentive effect of IPR protection further gives leading enterprises market advantages and strengthens their division of labor in the industrial chain, to minimize the damage caused by unnecessary R&D competition and low-cost imitation behavior to industry innovation and development, and achieve a jump in R&D performance. However, the judicial strengthening is not obvious for industries with a single R&D structure and fierce competition. “The effect of avoiding competition is dominant”. The R&D gap between enterprises is small, and the similar R&D level of each enterprise breeds low-cost imitation and free riding behavior. The innovation incentive effect of IPR protection worsens the competition between enterprises, the long-term R&D investment incentive of enterprises disappears, and ultimately the industry’s R&D performance shrinks seriously.
At present, there is a mismatch between the high investment costs of rule of law construction and the relatively low quality of actual patents in China. A single rule of law system may cause additional losses in a complex market competition environment. The results of this paper provide ideas for further refinement and improvement of innovation-driven development strategy and judicial adjustment of patent protection.