Strategies to achieve freedom-to-operate - How SMEs can achieve freedom-to-operate in the semiconductor industry
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Defending intellectual property rights for innovative SMEs is highly important in order to appropriate returns for their innovations. This is especially the case in a high patented industry where there is a high chance of infringing on other s rights. Commercializing the technology internationally also brings its hardships, as there now is multiple different environments, legal system and cultures to build the strategy around. But how is protection feasible when they who need it the most, paradoxically have the least awareness and resources to do so? This thesis explores how SMEs most effectively can achieve Freedom-to-Operate when commercializing a new technology/product in order to gain protection and appropriate returns. Basic background in intellectual property will be presented in chapter three. The whole of chapter four is divided into two parts, dedicated to factors that will influence the strategy and Company G must adhere to. The first part, 4.1, we will explore the Imaginary firm Company G its limits and constraints and strategic behavior. The second part, 4.2. is dedicated to the external environment that will shape the strategy where we will look at the industry itself, the Intellectual Property system, and factors within countries that the company must be aware of when seeking protection in those countries. In order to understand the importance of freedom-to-operate we will in Chapter five look at consequences firms encounter if they either let others breach their rights, or are they themselves are caught infringing on others.Finally, after having scrutinized the previous parts will we explore available strategies in chapter six; at last being qualified to reveal the prime strategy. The chapter will be categorize the strategies available under soft and/or hard protection and review the benefits/drawbacks as best as possible. Some strategies, however, are in need of are in need of support and nourishment from internal processes within the firm which will be looked at in chapter seven.Chapter eight will be the final chapter where we will have a discussion about the preferred strategy under the conditions before talking about suggestions for further research.