Subject focus: The role of IP in Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 and digital transformation are neither short-term phenomena nor buzzwords. There is nothing individual companies can do to generally avoid the digitisation of business processes or the globalisation of value chains, nor do decision-makers from the economy have any decisive influence on the time scales and scope of the effects of these developments. The discussion in IP management as a research area revolves around “competing for business models”, including the extent to which new business models should be based on such strategic considerations, which aspects of these business models are new, what risks these business models entail and how to confront these risks.

Intellectual property is regarded as a key competitive tool, albeit less so in terms of its traditional uses for protecting a company’s own R&D efforts against imitation, but rather in its modern form of generating prohibitive rights based on business models. In some industries (including IT, telecommunications and software), such prohibition strategies have been common practice for many years. Their goal is to prevent competitors from gaining access to business models and the associated customer benefits by means of worldwide industrial property rights.

The research area of IP Management was created in order to shed more light on the protection of (especially digital and digitised) business models by means of IP, and to provide best practice recommendations, systematic methods and tools. In addition to integrating IP with strategic and business model-based considerations, this research area is also concerned with quality-related challenges of corporate IP management, not least in order to ensure the permanent implementation of IP strategies and relevant performance monitoring measures.

Two doctoral paths are offered in the IP Management research area:

Science is a process which takes place in public. Quality in research and teaching is achieved through transparency and discussion among the scientific community. The institutional links of the Diesel Medal Postgraduate Program to the CTO Forum, the Board of Trustees of the Diesel Medal (Dieselkuratorium), its Decanery and the German Institute for Inventions (Deutsches Institut für Erfindungswesen, DIE), as well as the research area of IP Management at the Center for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) at the University of Strasbourg, the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN) and the I³PM, provide a guarantee for the quality of the subject-specific work conducted.

Research papers must be made available to the scientific community for peer review and discussion. Doctoral candidates within the research area of IP Management are therefore obliged to share their findings for discussion in publications, conference papers and conference presentations.

The Diesel Medal Postgraduate Program may provide funding to support travel and publishing activities.