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Signs of things to come? What patent submissions by small and medium-sized enterprises say about corporate strategies in emerging technologies

Luciano Kay, Jan Youtie and Philip Shapira

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2014, vol. 85, issue C, 17-25

Abstract: The management of intellectual property (IP) – particularly in the form of patents – has become of increasing importance to technology-oriented small and mid-sized businesses. Such companies adopt diverse strategies to develop and exploit knowledge as they move along innovation pathways from research and development (R&D) to technology commercialization. This investigation examines IP submissions through recent patents in the field of nanotechnology to better understand those strategies and focuses on how indicators of R&D activity, collaborations, funding and firm characteristics can be used to garner strategic and competitive intelligence about the orientations and IP strategies of technology-based firms. Our analysis of data from the Georgia Tech's Global Nanotechnology Database and other sources and illustrative case studies of U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises in nanotechnology shows that there are at least two different strategic approaches to enter this field and distinctive roles along the innovation pathway. A longer-term strategy is associated with nanotechnology research and discovery and possibly use of nanotechnologies to enhance properties of products. Another strategy is associated with a newer generation of firms with a strong focus on novel nanotechnology product development and commercialization and more intensive patenting activity.

Keywords: Nanotechnology; Small and medium-sized enterprises; Intellectual property; Competitive intelligence; Patents; Corporate strategies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.09.006

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