The article discusses the prospects and boundaries of voluntary and mutually beneficial cooperation in the process of creation, dissemination and use of innovations. The paradigm of mutually beneficial transactions makes the organization of effective interactions in the innovation process through a voluntary agreement between the parties conceptually possible. The basis of cooperation is the creation and distribution of innovative rents. The main obstacles and limitations for voluntary and mutually beneficial cooperation, the nature of which in the peculiarities of the institutional structure of society, are analyzed. The “extended” version of the Coase theorem is formulated in relation to the innovation process. The possibilities and fundamental limitations of alternative innovation policy based on coercion (Hobbes theorem) are considered. The thesis that the structure of relations in innovative activity is formed as a spontaneous order is substantiated. The failure of effective interaction and cooperation in the implementation of innovation is a consequence of the absence of individual income and wealth at the expense of the overall growth of the surplus of the consumer and the manufacturer. As a result, the reorientation of economic agents from innovative rents to other sources of maximizing individual utility (economic rent). Collective actions aimed at creating innovation, technological progress and improving the efficiency of the national economy are replaced by collective cooperation and mutually beneficial actions to create and capture economic, administrative and political rent. The dominant factor that determines limits the motivation for cooperation in the field of innovation is the distribution of access to the rights and resources of the government. The main direction of institutional policy should be to overcome the "economy of power". Without this, it is impossible to motivate the use of new technologies and create conditions for long-term and sustainable economic growth.