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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

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  • Kay, Luciano
  • Youtie, Jan
  • Shapira, Philip

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kay, Luciano & Youtie, Jan & Shapira, Philip, 2014. "Signs of things to come? What patent submissions by small and medium-sized enterprises say about corporate strategies in emerging technologies," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 17-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:85:y:2014:i:c:p:17-25
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.09.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew Toole & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2007. "Biomedical Academic Entrepreneurship through the SBIR Program," NBER Chapters,in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yin Li & Jan Youtie & Philip Shapira, 2015. "Why do technology firms publish scientific papers? The strategic use of science by small and midsize enterprises in nanotechnology," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(6), pages 1016-1033, December.
    2. Hsueh, Chao-Chih & Chen, Dar-Zen, 2015. "A taxonomy of patent strategies in Taiwan's small and medium innovative enterprises," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 84-98.
    3. Yuan Zhou & Xin Li & Rasmus Lema & Frauke Urban, 2016. "Comparing the knowledge bases of wind turbine firms in Asia and Europe: Patent trajectories, networks, and globalisation," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(4), pages 476-491.

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