The impact of digitalization on intellectual property strategy An exploratory study of Nordic engineering firms

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
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2018
Författare
Moos, Jacob
Lundbladh, Pontus
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An increasingly large share of firms in various industries have in the recent decade embedded digital technology in their products, processes and business models. Firms have therefore broadened their technology bases. As firms in different industries are moving into the same technology area, new issues of how intellectual property (IP) should be managed arise. Previous research has not aligned the areas of digitalization, technology strategy, and IP management. This study therefore attempts to clarify how digitalization affects firms’ technology strategies and in turn firms’ IP strategies. To investigate how firms work with these issues, interviews were conducted with 23 IP managers in 18 large technology-intensive Nordic firms. The empirical findings from these interviews reveal that as firms add digital technology with multiple external approaches for technology acquisition, they move into complex innovation ecosystems with multiple new types of actors. Furthermore, appropriability regimes for digital technology generally require multiple forms of protection, e.g. protection of an invention with both copyright, secrecy, and patent protection of complementary technologies. Additionally, embedding digital technology in products makes freedom to operate more difficult to achieve due to increased complexity in the surrounding patent landscapes. The empirical findings also reveal that data is to be considered an important, valuable asset. These findings suggest that appropriability needs to be expanded from a single-firm perspective to an innovation ecosystem perspective, and that multiple complementary assets and protective forms need to be managed in a strategic and holistic way.
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Innovation och entreprenörskap (nyttiggörande), Övrig annan teknik, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
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