While it is too soon to say that secondary innovation markets have arrived in most industries in most advanced economies, it is not too soon to plan for the emergence of secondary markets in your industry.  In industries like semiconductors, biotechnology, consumer products, chemicals, and mortgage banking, secondary markets have had powerful impacts upon industries when they do emerge. How can you assess whether and when secondary innovation markets are likely to impact your industry?  Here are a few questions to explore to guide your assessment:

  • Have any important technologies been introduced in your industry where one firm handed off the technology to another firm (via a license, JV, asset sale or spin out) at some point in the innovation process?  How often did this occur last year?
  • Did any university research projects turn into innovative new product or service offerings in your industry last year?
  • How many patents were reassigned last year in the patent classes that are closest to your core technologies?
  • How many times were you contacted last year with offers to license in someone else’s technology?  How many times are you contacted about licensing your technology?  How long does it take you to respond?
  • Did any companies in your industry go bankrupt last year?  What happened to their technologies, and the IP associated with those technologies?
  • How many sales and transfers of patents were you and/or your outside law firm involved with last year?  How many sales and transfers are they aware of in your industry?
  • Are any new firms entering your industry with IP-based business models?  (These are discussed in Chapter 7).
  • Are any innovation intermediaries (see Chapter 6) working for you or any of your major competitors?
  • How many of your internal R&D projects were shelved or cancelled last year, without any licensing or spin out activity resulting from it?

These questions should be the beginning of an internal process to determine the stage at which your innovation practices have opened and leveraged external resources. Based on the answers to these questions, it would be relevant to start assessing the new practices and strategies to pursue.

For more information, see Ch. 3 Open Business Models by Henry Chesbrough