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Edison in the Boardroom Revisited: How Leading Companies Realize Value from Their Intellectual Property, Second Edition by Patrick H. Sullivan, Suzanne S. Harrison

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Technology Convergence

Technologies and markets are converging more so now than ever in the past. For example, smart phones demonstrate the convergence of communication technologies, information technologies, and computer technologies. Technologically, they combine semiconductor technology, computing, LED display, social networking technology, geolocation, handset technology, telephony, and camera, to name a few. This means that companies that have heretofore not been technology or business competitors find themselves vying for ownership of patent assets to maintain competitive advantage in the new product market for smart phones.

In the past, before the emergence of these converged products, technologies, and markets, companies minimized risk by owning or otherwise controlling the patented technologies necessary to maintain their competitive advantage. Now, companies caught up in converging technology situations are finding that they have neither the time nor the resources to acquire the patents needed to ensure their future technology paths. So what do they do?

It is too early in the converging technology phenomenon to know what are the best solutions. Nevertheless, it appears we will need to rethink the concept of owning and controlling patented technology as the path toward ensuring future technology development. It may be that companies will find themselves moving toward a circumstance of alliances and relationships to enable access to patents that companies need when they ...

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