Title: Implicit patent alliance acquiring the appropriability of innovation

Authors: Yoshimasa Goto; Kiminori Gemba

Addresses: Japan Science and Technology Agency, 7 Gobancho, Chiyohda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0076, Japan ' Hosei Business School of Innovation Management, Hosei University, 3-3-9 Kudan-kita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0073, Japan

Abstract: This paper proposes an innovation management scheme, an 'implicit patent alliance', to support the appropriability of innovation. A case study on inkjet printer companies is conducted to examine its potential effectiveness. In many markets, essential patents may not help patentees achieve dominance because products consist of many essential patents distributed among multiple companies. This distribution allows many companies to enter the market and limits the appropriability of innovation. A collection of essential patents and cross-licenses held, both formally and informally, by only a few companies among themselves could function as a virtual alliance. This 'implicit patent alliance' can occupy the licensing of essential patents and provide a basis for the appropriability of innovation. Three inkjet printer companies - Canon, Epson, and Hewlett-Packard - formed an implicit patent alliance and dominated the market.

Keywords: appropriability; inkjet printers; essential patents; cross-licenses; strategic alliances; implicit patent alliances; innovation management; virtual alliances.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2016.078568

International Journal of Technology Management, 2016 Vol.71 No.3/4, pp.186 - 211

Published online: 24 Aug 2016 *

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