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Business method patents as a challenge for technology management in the logistics industry: The case of intelligent sensor networks

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3 Author(s)
Niemann, H. ; IPMI-Inst. of Project Manage. & Innovation, Univ. of Bremen, Bremen, Germany ; Moehrle, M.G. ; Walter, L.

Business method patents represent a new challenge for technology management in the logistics industry. (i) They open up possibilities of patenting to companies which have never before utilized this kind of property right. Hence, the technology management is challenged to implement a patent strategy that stands up to patent-driven changes in the competitive environment. (ii) Patents of this kind usually rely on inventions driven by business-processes rather than technical aspects. And this poses a challenge to the technology management of companies in which patenting is a commonly used instrument for defending primarily technical solutions. To provide some case-related insight into how technology management in the logistics industry deals with the abovementioned challenges, we intend to analyze the utilization of such patents in the context of intelligent sensor networks. We are going to develop several hypotheses and propose a workflow based approach for patent analysis, comprising (i) the systematic analysis of a business process, and (ii) the use of functions of this business process for the identification of relevant patent documents. One major finding is that only relatively few logistic companies are active in this patent field. Accordingly and this can be regarded as an alarming signal, which might apply to other industries as well technology management in the analyzed field is missing a major opportunity to gain advantages and to secure the freedom to operate.

Published in:

Technology Management in the Energy Smart World (PICMET), 2011 Proceedings of PICMET '11:

Date of Conference:

July 31 2011-Aug. 4 2011

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