Strategic intellectual property management - From a mean to protect a firm’s knowledge to an imperative for innovation ecosystem orchestration

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Lehrstuhl für Innovation, Strategie und Organisation
Bachelor; Master


For centuries, patents have been used to protect intellectual property, enabling inventors to commercialize their ideas without fear of being copied by competitors.
While this described use case occurs primarily in a closed innovation environment, the open innovation paradigm spans many other use cases. For example, the systematic publication of patents is used to drive global technology development while enforcing socio-environmental goals (see Tesla), or to highlight a company's innovative power and strengthen its brand (see Bosch, Audi, etc.).
In many business ecosystem strategies, intellectual property protection takes an important place, primarily to sustainably protect the ecosystem value proposition and thus guarantee the value capture by the ecosystem actors (see ARM, Nutriset, etc.). However, the selection and implementation of these strategies require considering context-specific constraints and the weighing of classic strategic trade-offs.
In particular, joint development projects in innovation ecosystems pose significant challenges to strategy work. In addition to the distribution of intellectual property perceived as fair by the ecosystem actors, effective commercialization and further development must be made possible.
This offered thesis aims to investigate intellectual property as a strategic component in innovation ecosystems in more detail. In particular, the research should critically discuss the case of joint technology development. In addition, the thesis must elaborate on the relationship between the ecosystem-wide value proposition and the governance of intellectual property. To shed more light on the problem, contrary phenomena such as the open-source movement can also provide insight.
By completing this thesis, the student should demonstrate the ability to work through a problem using scientific methods and build a deep understanding of the management of intellectual property in innovation ecosystems.

Keywords: IP, Intellectual Property, Innovation, Innovation Ecosystems, Strategy, Ecosystems, Value Proposition