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Vol 5 - Issue 4

Technology and Innovation

List of Articles

Patents and the strategic approach to the valorisation of innovation

This issue on the subject of Technology and Innovation proposes to compare disciplinary analyses, particularly those from economics, finance, accounting and law, on strategies for enhancing the value of innovation and their link, or opposition, to patents. It is therefore fundamentally multidisciplinary and, along the way, seeks to promote among both researchers and practitioners a global vision of the advantages and limitations of patents in the construction of a strategy for the valorisation of innovation.

Focus on the accounting treatment of patents: Do patent assessment and recognition rules lead to useful information for investors?

The intangible investments made by companies are not always correctly recognized in financial statements. For patents, according to the accounting standards used and the way the firms obtain them (purchased or internally produced), the financial consequences on the balance sheet (the book value of the patent) and the income statement (the profit and loss) are profoundly different. The question about the assessment and the recognition of intangible items is a major research stream in the field of accounting. Many scholars work on the informational content of the intangibles recorded in financial statements. They demonstrate two main outcomes. On the one hand, with a capitalization of development costs (recognition of an intangible asset in the balance sheet), firms give useful information to investors about the potential future cash flows of their development projects. On the other hand, the information asymmetry related to intangibles can be reduced by disclosing voluntary information about the research and development activity with measures of innovation outputs related to patents.

The organization of companies’ technological innovation: an analysis based on the concept of exploration

This contribution proposes, with the help of a simple representation of the organization of companies’ innovation activity, to measure the weight of exploration and exploitation innovations. The objective is to study the structural determinants associated with one or the other of the activities in order to better understand the choices of companies. To this end, the article uses tools from the theory of technological coherence applied to the patent portfolios of the world’s 2,000 largest innovative groups.

Strategic interactions between firms as evidenced by patent oppositions: the case of the European wind power industry

This paper aims at analysing the uses of patent opposition proceedings on the European wind turbine market. Whereas the latter has experienced a massive development in recent decades, it is still quite concentrated, which makes it an ideal case for study. After conducting a descriptive analysis, we observe a rather “healthy” oligopolistic competition. Most of recorded oppositions involve two of the six top wind turbine manufacturers, which allows us to exclude the use of oppositions for predatory purpose. The analysis of the oppositions’ outcome also provides useful insights. Most oppositions seem to be justified as they have led to the revocation or the amendment of the underlying patent. However, we observe some heterogeneity between wind turbine manufacturers, with more or less offensive opposition behaviors that might be driven by market considerations.

Coopetition and patents: legal stakes

The integration of patents in the coopetition dynamic between economic operators is a complex issue. Calling on an environment specifically adapted to such a practice, coopetition, encouraged but also feared by competition law, assumes that operators adapt their patent strategy. The first tool mobilized is the contract intended to supervise coopetition. Contractual freedom and IP flexibility are used to achieve seemingly opposite goals. Coopetition also leads operators to develop renewed analyses of the management of their intellectual assets, moving from an exclusive approach to a sharing proposal, without losing the economic interest of these assets. It is possible to retain three practices which place coopetition as a management tool: understanding technological cycles, managing patent portfolios to drive market growth and, finally, corporate venture.

What can we learn from Tesla Motor’s patents about its IP strategy?

The Tesla patent pledge is a particularly interesting case study. It corresponds to a strategy of opening up its patent portfolio by a new company, which has invested in an already highly concentrated sector by targeting a specific market, that of the all-electric vehicle, by the top of the range. The analysis of the patents shows that Tesla is both very little involved in upstream R&D cooperation, at least as far as it is possible to judge by the firm’s co-patents compared to those of its competitors, and at the heart of the technological classes where it patents, judging by the significantly higher number of citations received by its patents. These elements argue in favour of an interpretation in terms of Tesla’s search for technological leadership. This interpretation is supported by Tesla’s vertical integration. According to this interpretation, the patent pledge is a means of bringing competitors into line with Tesla’s technical solutions in order for Tesla to take advantage of network externalities and economies of scale and thus lower its costs to impose its technology on the market for all-electric vehicles.

New development of a software specification process by an expert open source management organization at an industrial level: process innovations and impact on patent policy

A recent innovation has emerged in industrial IT management. The publication of the main implementation of the Java Enterprise Edition platform inducted in September 2019 the shaping of a software specification process established for the first time at this level by an open source management organization, the Eclipse Foundation. Industrially recognized for its expertise in coordinating IT stakeholders (including major firms) in the development of highly qualitative open source projects (particularly in the field of software engineering) and a guarantor of commercial neutrality (non-profit corporation), Eclipse started to shape an innovative specification process building on its expertise in open source management. An in-depth case study will show the transposition of proven practices from open source development to a software specification process. This generates process innovations for the research field of technology management, in particular concerning the determining issues of intellectual property rights and patents.

Development of collaborative creativity through the practice of the Hackathon. Leverage effect for the development of the basis of future innovations

The spread of the Internet and the advent of a digital age have brutally made available vast stocks of knowledge while accelerating their diffusion. This context invites companies to develop agile and collaborative organizations capable of associating the ecosystem in order to innovate faster, more often ... in short, to innovate creatively. The current trend shows that companies are increasingly taking an open and collaborative approach, generally based on the promotion of creativity, including through the adoption of practices such as the hackathon. The question we will answer in this article is how by leveraging collaborative creativity hackathons lay the foundations for future innovations. This question is justified by the hackathon’s ability to rely on creativity and collaboration with the ecosystem in a co-creative and agile approach in order to develop new hypotheses that will serve as the basis for future innovations.