Discussion Papers

Ulrich Schmoch, Thomas Schnöring

Technological Strategies of Telecommunication Equipment Manufacturers - A Patent Analysis
Nr. 119 / November 1993

Summary

Patent analysis on a company level leads to many interesting insights into the technological strategy of companies and of the structure of the telecommunication market. As for technology, European companies are usually focussed, within the general area of information technology, on telecommunications, whereas Japanese companies put higher emphasis on other fields such as data processing or audiovisual electronics and enter telecommunications from this context. This might be decisive for the markets of the future where an increasing merger of telecommunications, data processing and audiovisual electronics is expected.

The research of multinational concerns with European parent companies is, according to the patent analysis, not really globalized, but at least a trend towards foreign R&D activities on a low level is visible. This observation also holds for American concerns. In contrast, Japanese companies have almost no external R&D activities, but it is not clear whether this behaviour is an explicit strategy of independence or simply a result of the geographic situation.

The patents of European companies aim at European markets and, on second position, North America. The level of patenting in Japan is very low which is a strong indication for the low presence in this key market for East Asia. American companies are oriented to both the European and the Japanese markets. Japanese patents chiefly aim at the American market and, on a lower level, at the European one. In Europe, most patents are selectively applied for in two or three large markets. This observation documents a well deliberate strategy which reflects the - still - low presence in Europe. The international pattern of patenting correlates with international trade patterns.

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