Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The interplay between standardization and technological change: A study on wireless technologies, technological trajectories, and essential patent claims


Author Info

  • Rudi Bekkers


  • Arianna Martinelli



In many technology fields, standardization is the primary method of achieving alignment between actors. Especially if strong network effects and increasing returns are present, the market often ends up with a single standard that dominates the technical direction, activities and search heuristics, for at least one full technology generation. Although literature has addressed such decision processes quite extensively, relatively little attention has been paid to the way in which standards affect - and are affected by - technological change. Building upon the concepts of technological regimes and trajectories (Dosi, 1982), and on the methodology proposed by (Hummon & Doreian, 1989) to empirically investigate such trajectories, this papers aims to study the interplay between standardisation and technological change. We conclude that the empirically derived technological trajectories very well match the standardisation activities and the main technological challenges derived from the engineering literature. Moreover, we also observe that the Hummon & Doreian methodology can indeed reveal technological discontinuities. To the best of our knowledge, this has not been the case in earlier studies using this technology, and refutes concerns that this methodology has a (too) strong bias towards incremental, continuous technological paths. Finally, we compare the set of patents in the most important technological trajectories to the set of so-called essential patent claims at standards bodies, and conclude that there is no significant relationship. This confirms earlier arguments that essential patents are not necessarily ‘important’ patents in a technical sense.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) in its series Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) working paper series with number 10-08.

as in new window
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision: Sep 2010
Handle: RePEc:dgr:tuecis:wpaper:1008

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Related research

Keywords: technological trajectories; standardization; innovation;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Marianna EPICOCO (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Vanessa OLTRA (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113) & Maïder SAINT JEAN (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2012. "Mapping the scientific knowledge of the Green Chemistry community (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2012-10, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
  2. Epicoco, Marianna, 2013. "Knowledge patterns and sources of leadership: Mapping the semiconductor miniaturization trajectory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 180-195.
  3. Seppälä, Timo & Kenney, Martin, 2012. "Competitive Dynamics, IP Litigation and Acquisitions - The Struggle for Positional Advantage in the Emerging Mobile Internet," Discussion Papers 1288, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dgr:tuecis:wpaper:1008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Carolina Castaldi).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.