An interesting theoretical debate arises when considering firm heterogeneity in learning from exporting. One perspective intimates that technologically lagging firms stand to benefit more from exporting because exposure to technological knowledge in foreign markets allows these firms to close the gap with their more technologically endowed counterparts. A contrasting perspective posits that technologically superior firms benefit more from exporting since these firms are better equipped to translate knowledge acquired in foreign markets into innovation. Using a sample of 1,744 Spanish manufacturing firms from 1990-1997, this study empirically investigates how exporting differentially influences the patent output of technologically leading versus technologically lagging firms. We find that exporting is associated with the ex post increase in innovative productivity for both technologically leading and lagging,firms. However, subsequent to exporting, technologically leading firms apply for more patents than technologically lagging firms. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.