رفتار سازمانی در فرآیند R & D مبتنی بر تجزیه و تحلیل حق ثبت اختراع : مدیریت R & D استراتژیک در یک شرکت الکترونیکی ژاپنی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|28956||2002||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 22, Issue 7, July 2002, Pages 417–425
In the previous study [Tsuji, Org. Sci. 33 (2000) 62], the author showed that Canon's patent acquisition strategy effectively promotes their research and development (R&D). In the present study, the author investigated Canon's R&D process from the viewpoint of organizational behavior, paying particular attention to researchers' behavioral patterns, the significance of their patent acquisition strategy, and the role of the Patent Section. Patent application data reflecting performance of researchers in R&D activity relating to inkjet printers were analyzed. The results show that: first, Canon's R&D practice is mainly carried out by teams of researchers; second, each team usually focuses its research effort on a single specified element of technology or device; finally, at times, several teams combine to form larger groups, corresponding to certain stages of product development. Such flexible team behavior exemplifies a new type of unification–regulation system that effectively promotes the R&D process. The author also discusses the useful method of selecting key patents from medley patent gathering for organizational studies.
It has become more important for firms to acquire patents in order to maintain superiority in product development over the competition or to facilitate technological cooperation and obtaining technical licenses from other companies in the electronics industry. Many firms have come to consider patents as the source of competitive power and therefore put much stronger emphasis on their acquisition part of business strategy. This is especially so in the electronics industry, where most firms regard patent acquisition as a key strategic factor in maintaining their product advantage in the market over their competitors. While the electronics industry used to offer their patents to their competitors in exchange for small royalties or grant them in cross-licensing deals, recently, they have tended to retain them for their own use and become more reluctant to grant cross-licenses as product development competition has intensified. Ownership of important or attractive patents not only assures companies of their product superiority in the market, but also allows for better negotiation opportunities for business cooperation. This change in strategy may be attributed to two trends that are presently prevailing on a global scale, namely a shift toward to pro-patent policy and intensified patent disputes. In the mid-1980s, some influential countries, the United States to name one, began to adopt a pro-patent policy under which acquiring patents became easier for patent applicants than during the previous anti-patent policy period. Moreover, it has become more important to hold basic patents as disputes over patents have increased. Most studies on patents so far have centered on their importance as econometric indices to show firms' R&D strength or each country's governmental patent policy. Few have concentrated attention on strategic viewpoints. For example, although Teece (1987) discussed the meaning of patents in terms of their ‘appropriability’ and von Hippel (1988) referred to them in his discussion of product development, these authors failed to analyze patent strategy. This lack of a strategic viewpoint may arise from the conventional notion that patent application is only an ex post facto process following inventions in R&D [Fig. 1(a)]. This kind of ‘passive’ patent strategy may suffice if patents merely involve a limited number of technologies and products as in the case of the pharmaceutical industry. In the present-day electronics industry where diversified and complex technologies are involved and each of them continuously progresses, the patents to be applied are accordingly various. As a result, electronics firms must control the traffic of those patents so that they effectively function as a whole industry, avoiding conflict of interest with each other. Under such circumstances, the ‘passive’ patent strategy does not seem appropriate.In the author's previous study on Canon's R&D process relating to inkjet printers (IJPs), the author showed that they carry out their patent application policy from a missing strategic viewpoint in the previous studies (Tsuji, 2000). That is, they first design a plan in which they decide on their target patents necessary for particular products to be developed. They then start their actual R&D activity. In this way, they are able to acquire effective patents and form an adequate functioning portfolio. Moreover, in their examination of a series of technologies to be developed, the selection of research themes is made so that they effectively compliment others already in the comprehensive group of patents. This seems to be more ‘active’ than the conventional strategy [Fig. 1(b)] and confers characteristic features on their organizational R&D behavior. The questions of how researchers practice in their actual R&D process and how R&D processes are organized in relation to the stage of product development are the subjects of the present study. In addition to focusing on organizational behavior, researchers' characteristics, and changes in the R&D process, the author also discusses the role of the Patent Section that effectively promotes such characteristic R&D behavior and the new method for selecting necessary information from a large number of medley patents.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The characteristics of Canon's R&D activity can be summed up as follows: first, their R&D activity is mainly carried out by teams of researchers. Second, each team devotes itself to only one or two themes. Third, at times, these teams get together to form groups, depending on the stages of product development. Fourth, such groups are either ‘homogenous’, that is, each team in the group shares the same theme to deepen the level of a particular technology, or ‘heterogeneous’, with each team having a different theme working together to invent a single technology. Fifth, the driving force of Canon's R&D activity is their patent acquisition strategy. Finally, the Patent Section plays an important role in consolidating research teams of different functions and themes to achieve R&D activity that ultimately leads to acquisition of patents. The patent acquisition strategy, though important, may not be the only driving force of Canon's R&D activity. In order to find it the author may have to reconsider the present survey method and establish a new approach that helps us grasp in more detail their R&D activity and systematically analyze it. Moreover, in order to establish a general theory on the basis of the present results, we must apply the same survey methods to other products in the electronics industry or products in other industries. Most studies so far have mainly been based on surveys through interviews and questionnaires, rather than empirical methods such as patent data analysis that objectively point to changes in the R&D process. By cross-checking with conventional interviews and questionnaires, the obtained data should give us a clearer picture of the R&D process in action. It is possible that what the author presents in this study is an exceptional case which is only true for Canon. At least, however, we can point out that a new type of organizational behavior can effectively promote R&D activity. This paper also shows the availability of the UFP as the proxy of inventions for tracing the dynamic process of R&D. It brings not only the backbone of the R&D process into relief, but it is also time and effort saving to select necessary patents from an enormous medley of patents from the viewpoint of organizational studies.