Taking the inventive step: The role of the patent department in new product development
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Drawing on an interview-based case study of R&D specialists in two patent intensive firms, we suggest that patent engineers are an important resource for R&D specialists’ work throughout the inventive process. In addition to the role prior literature indicates the patent department to have for supplying R&D with information needed from and about patents to plan R&D work, the findings suggest that patent engineers contribute to the actual development work whereby R&D specialists turn ideas into inventions, and inventions into patents. In virtue of their patent expertise and their technological competence, patent engineers can help R&D specialists to shape and refine their ideas into patentable inventions by appraising potential obstacles, suggesting promising lines of approach to a determined problem, or at times even by assisting with the technological solution per se. We suggest that such contributions of the patent department are particularly important in mature industries where demands for patentable inventions to protect new products are in constant conflict with that many of the knowledge domains in which firms compete are already heavily patented. The results further indicate an increasing need for firms to integrate not only the functionally specialized departments of R&D, marketing and manufacturing, as is often indicated in new product development literatures, but also a need to integrate R&D with the patent department. Indeed, in mature industries at least, the responsibilities for R&D and patenting may be intimately related, making it difficult to analyze the two separately.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New product development, the patent department, R&D Management
Business Administration Other Mechanical Engineering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-69965OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-69965DiVA: diva2:433683
R&D Management Conference 2011, 28-30 June, Norrköping, Sverige