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  5. Open Innovation: A chance to innovate intellectual property strategy of Japanese Corporations

2009 Vol.3
Open Innovation: A chance to innovate intellectual property strategy of Japanese Corporations

2009/07/01

Much attention has been directed to the concept of open innovation where firms create additional value through research and development by not only conducting it internally, but also obtaining knowledge from other firms flexibly and thus improving its efficiency. As a concept, open innovation extends beyond mere complementary outsourcing. Therefore, important issues involve, in particular, the extent to which it affects the function of research and development at large corporations and the role of intellectual property management. With this background, this paper focuses on reviewing existing discussions on open innovation while touching on the future of strategic intellectual management by Japanese corporations. With regard to U.S. companies, some argue that what eventually remains in large companies is their role of integrating various knowledge and techniques. Japanese companies are, however, more oriented toward accumulating their own resources. Therefore, observers have considered that the most conventional approach of Japanese companies to open innovation is to clearly identify their core technology and concentrate investment in it for the purpose of enhancing itsgpurityhand, then, openly procure technology from external sources for non-core areas. However, a more proactive thinking is as follows. Part of the reason why innovation processes at Japanese companies have been regarded as inwardlooking or exclusive is that there has been little access to information on third-party innovations. This problem can be overcome as innovation intermediaries”Ÿas Chesbrough calls them”Ÿemerge and become prevalent. Therefore, we should rather think that open innovation provides an opportunity to take advantage of external procurement of technology while maintaining the strength of traditional, exclusive innovation processes. Strategic actions taken by Japanese companies on this issue are expected.

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