Open Innovation: New Business Models and Intellectual Property Rights - CANCELLED

Course content

Where are the sources of innovation? How to capture the best new ideas out there? And how to leverage the new ideas and technologies you have developed as a company or entrepreneur? What is the role of new business models and intellectual property rights (IPRs) in creating and capturing and capturing value from innovation? To start answering these questions, we need to acknowledge that innovation does not take place in a vacuum and that not all smart people in the world work for one single organization. Instead, knowledge is dispersed across different organizations and individuals in the economy. The sources of innovation are also distributed across different parts of an organization’s value network. This course deals with these distributed sources of innovation by exploring different aspects of the innovation process that go beyond the boundaries of the firm. The course will particularly focus on the fact that innovation is the result of the combination of knowledge and often requires firms to look outside for sources of knowledge and commercialization opportunities.

In order to better understand how you can make money from innovative knowledge that is coming from inside or outside an organization, this course will focus on different aspects of the innovation process. There will be attention for both the theory and practice of open innovation, from different perspectives and at different units of analysis. There will be a particular focus on the role of the business model, which describes the logic of creating and capturing value, and which opportunities and constraints can be derived from opening up the business. There is also a focus on IPR, which involves assessing risks, market structures, competitor positioning, and defining how to organize oneself in this landscape. This should then inform the decision how to develop innovation by exchanging intellectual property (IP) with other stakeholders in the market.

Understanding the theory and practice of the role of business models and IPRs in open innovation — and being able to link the two — is not only important for large multinational corporations (MNCs) but also for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs and scientists. The course will emphasize strategies, mechanisms and tools in the context of open innovation. For example, with respect to IP, strategizing is about how to develop, map and implement an IP strategy, essentially demonstrating how managers, entrepreneurs and scientists can support reaching their commercial goals with the use of IP rights (e.g. patents, designs, copyrights, trademarks) in combination with know-how and trade secrets — and showing how the business can grow by using the supporting instruments the IP regime offers. On a more specific level, IP dealing is about how IP rights are exchanged between stakeholders, and the challenges, costs and benefits individuals or firms face. IP dealing can be conducted in a myriad of ways — where the more common approaches are in-, out- and cross-licensing, sales, open access, royalty agreements or by the use of IP brokers, each approach entails different considerations.

The course will take departure in open innovation, business models and IP seen from a general perspective, however, focus will also turn on aspects which only pertain for firms belonging to selected industries. The industry specific elements will be based on students’ area of interest. For example, whether students have an interest in agriculture, environment or natural resources, or in life science and biotech, there will be opportunities to link various elements of the course to those respective industries (e.g., through lectures, cases and assignments). In addition, the course includes an introduction to more hands-on models and tools that will help to practically navigate the open innovation landscape in a real context.

In essence, this course helps students to develop an applied approach to how scientists, entrepreneurs, and companies navigate in this complex area of open innovation, where strategy, business models and IPRs meet.

This course can be seen as an add-on for the students that have taken one of the more innovation, entrepreneurship or technical patent courses offered at KU, although these are by no means a prerequisite to follow the course.

Learning outcome

The intended learning outcome of this course is to increase students’ ability to examine and synthesize theories and practices of open innovation as well as their analytical and decision-making skills in this context. During the course, the students will study, analyze and integrate various open innovation practices and theories. By providing the relevant skills and knowledge that managers also need and develop in practice, the course offers students the basic principles and tools that are required when evaluating different approaches and opportunities for open and distributed innovation performance, which they are likely to face in their future jobs.

The students will understand how to approach new business models and IP challenges in the context of open innovation. They will be able to apply the knowledge learned in future positions in-house in start-ups, SMEs and MNCs or if choosing an academic career. Among others, students will learn, when, how and what kind of business models and IPRs should be considered in the open innovation process, how to develop and protect their internal knowledge base, how to leverage internal and external sources of innovation, and what to consider when working with different types of external stakeholders, such as universities and firms.

The course will provide the students with: 
• Understand different aspects and phases of open innovation 
• Understand the role of business models in creating and capturing value through open innovation 
• Classify and distinguish between different types of IP (e.g. patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, designs) and their usability in respect to types of business (e.g. the characteristics of a product, process, organizations) 

• Identify and describe an open business model and related IPR strategy as well as IP archetypes and the causal implications for performance 
• Identify and describe scientific and practical material about open innovation theory and practice 
• Present a (critical) view on relevant concepts, theories and practices related to open innovation 
• Apply and integrate components of business models and IP strategies to analyze possible open innovation partners (e.g. a firm, an industry, a start-up) 

• Analyze and integrate open innovation concepts, theories and practices 
• Discuss theoretical approaches and industrial practices related to open innovation in general and new business models and IPRs in particular 
• Apply and synthesize concepts and practices to suggest realistic ways of managing IP rights in different contexts and industries 

The course aims at presenting students to leading international research on open innovation, including business models and IP, combined with real life examples. Linking theory and practice is an integral part of this course, for which various methods will be considered (e.g. guest lectures, company visits and cases). It is the aim to combine teaching and practice in such a way that each theoretical insight will be combined with practical assignments the students will perform either as individuals or in groups. It is possible for students to suggest firms that are of special interest for them as they could be considered for guest lectures, visits or assignments.

Furthermore, this course will benefit from the participation of a wide range of students with heterogeneous educations and experience to offer insights from various industries and perspectives. The course is a mixture of several approaches to learning, where students with preference for combining theory with practical insights when learning will be served best.

The literature will be announced at the beginning of the course.

To enter the course no prior knowledge of open innovation, business models or IPR is required.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
Oral examination on the basis of the final report where both the particular learning with respect to the report and the general learning with respect to the broader course curriculum will be examined.
The final report counts as part-examination is to be handed in Friday at noon in week 7 and weighs 50% and the oral examination weighs 50%. Only one final grade will be given.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
two internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

see course objectives

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Theory exercises
  • 24
  • Exercises
  • 24
  • Project work
  • 92
  • Guidance
  • 4
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Preparation
  • 20
  • English
  • 206