We study the effect of the intellectual property rights (IPR) regime of a host country (South) on a multinational’s decision between serving a market via greenfield foreign direct investment to avoid the exposure of its technology or entering a joint venture (JV) with a local firm, which allows R&D spillovers under imperfect IPRs. JV is the equilibrium market structure when R&D intensity is moderate and IPRs strong. The South can gain from increased IPR protection by encouraging a JV, whereas policies to limit foreign ownership in a JV gain importance in technology intensive industries as complementary policies to strong IPRs.