The Role of Patents in Digital Business Eco-systems – the case of 5G: Research Project at MIPLM/CEIPI
In periods of disruption, uncertainty and challenges are inevitable. However, these times often also uncover new opportunities. Patents as business assets are used addressing both risks and potential rewards. Patents help to overcome a given level of uncertainty. They help to master change and transformation in digital business eco-systems.
We are all familiar with eco-systems in the natural world. It is a localized community of living organisms interacting with each other and their particular environment. These organisms influence each other, and their terrain; they compete and collaborate, share and create resources, and co-evolve; and they are inevitably subject to external disruptions, to which they adapt together. Noticing growing parallels, business strategist James Moore imported the concept to the increasingly dynamic and interconnected world of commerce. He presented these concept in his famous book: “The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems”.
Long-term experience tells that major innovations lie at the borderline of technologies. Does this theory also apply to markets and eco-systems? Eco-system borders become less clear once a multitude of eco-systems can address a new market demand. While this scenario could simply end up in a competition of various isolated eco-systems, it is in the long run more likely that eco-systems will converge and jointly create the most valuable solutions for the new market demand. In order to provide that joint solution to the market, previously separated eco-systems need to find ways to interact, to share resources, and jointly address the market. Can this need be identified as a driving force and thus an enabler for digital platforms?
Considering today’s relevance of data, information and mobility, an increasingly important field of interest lies in an efficient distribution of such data via the air interface. With suitable frequency bandwidth being limited for such applications and completely occupied by unicast services of mobile network operators, the way to more efficiently use the frequency resource is in mobile broadcast and mobile multicast. Mobile broadcast and mobile multicast are already discussed as “a likely first killer application of 5G”, because it should: (a) further enable applications like IoT, smart farming, autonomous driving, virtual reality etc. and (b) fulfill the high demand of mobile data from younger generations. While the mobile telecommunication eco-system is focused on mobile unicast services, the terrestrial broadcast eco-system is focused on stationary broadcast services. Therefore, future mobile data applications have been identified as a relevant scenario for a new market demand on the border between the mobile telecommunication eco-system on one hand and the terrestrial broadcast eco-system on the other hand, both interacting with digital content providers.
This research project analyzes whether the occurrences of digital platforms can be fostered by the convergence of the telecommunication eco-system and the terrestrial broadcast eco-system. The project uses the scenario described above, especially with regard to the questions:
- Does the convergence of the eco-systems, as such, create a need for digital platforms?
- Can IP strategic positions accelerate the introduction and sustain exclusivity of such a digital platform in converging eco-systems, especially concerning shaping strategy?
- What are possible enablers and hindrances for such a platform?
This research project is conducted by MIPLM graduate Markus Guder and supervised by Prof. Dr. Alexander Wurzer and Dr. Thibaud Lelong both CEIPI.
Markus Guder works since 2003 at Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG in Munich and since 2019 as director intellectual property management. After graduating with the diploma in engineering, he also pursued an MBA & engineering degree both at the Hochschule München. He holds a distance learning degree as a Patent Engineer in intellectual property law from the Beuth Hochschule für Technik Berlin and a master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law and Management (MIPLM) from CEIPI.
Here is the presentation about the “Identification and evaluation of IP-strategic positions for possible platform-based business models in a converging eco-system on the example of mobile applications”: