The use of intellectual property in high technology Japanese and Western companies
This research comprises a comparative study of Japanese and UK Intellectual Property (IP) management and an extension, informed by the study, of existing IP strategy frameworks. The research was prompted by observing that little has been written about IP management and that Japanese IP management might differ from that in the West due to differing economic, legal and technological circumstances. A literature review found IP related economics literature but little in English regarding IP management. The most relevant work was that by Teece concerning the combined role of complementary assets and intellectual property rights (IPRs). The present research's contribution is thus threefold. A detailed description of the development and nature of Japanese IP management. A comparison with UK IP management, putting Japanese IP management into an international context. Finally, a development of existing general IP Strategy frameworks informed by the results of the international comparison. In studying IP management in Japan a wide range of specialist literature in Japanese was studied. Interviews were held, those with Japanese IP managers, lawyers, government and NGO officials being in Japanese. The first comparative survey of UK and Japanese IP management formed a key source of the data collected. A response rate of 44% in Japan (211 replies) and 33% in the UK (259 replies) enabled comparisons by both size and sector. Many similarities were found between Japanese and UK attitudes to and practice of IP management, reflecting the similarity of the underlying issues in both countries. There were also significant differences between Japanese and UK companies especially in the extent and organisation of resources devoted to IP management, in attitudes to IP strategy, licensing, litigation, the filing of patent applications and in the use and management of patent information. The study provided the basis for developing a view of IP strategy as a dynamic management strategy process. This process occurs in a framework involving time and the control of technological scope and progress using IPRs and complementary assets. Other considerations involved comprise the ability to use resources to exploit markets fully and learning opportunities. The study of Japan's IP management and its development from a position of technological followership to that of still learning leadership thus provides a basis for a view of IP strategy as taking place in an integrated dynamic management framework.