Launch of the ‘bluenove label’
1. Overcoming the gap between Open Innovation (OI) and Intellectual Property (IP)
Research question: How to protect creativity and the value of knowledge based solutions? How to enable trust based models between partners in Collaborative and Open Innovation?
Faced with the growing tendencies in business toward openness and collaboration, companies are often confronted with the issue of Intellectual Property protection. Moreover, Open and Collaborative Innovation represents openness toward communities, partners, individuals, and even competitors that are exterior to the company. On the contrary, Intellectual Property rights are designed to exclude others from using their knowledge or inventions for a limited period of time. These two make it difficult to manage transactions in open innovation processes.
This study focuses on contracts that govern transactions within the flexible processes in Open Innovation via on-line platforms.
The aim of the study is to define contracting mechanisms in order to enable management of Open Innovation processes and their formalization with success. Furthermore, the objective is to identify and to minimize the possibility of opportunism that is always present in business and should be prevented by binding parties into cooperation with contracts (Williamson 1985).
The specific objectives are:
- to contribute to understanding of the Intellectual Property aspects of open innovation (including theoretical and practical implications),
- to define and to provide contracting mechanisms in order to improve the effectiveness of the meeting between seekers and solvers,
- to help Open Innovation actors (clients, partners, consultants, IP and OI practitioners, etc.) as well as to help realisation of Open initiatives : call for ideas, call for solutions, etc. (Innocentive, Brihtidea, CogniStreamer, etc.),
- to enhance the perceived value of sharing and collaboration in contrast to infringement of Intellectual property rights, most notably in China,
- to share a common understanding and agreement of fair rules to be applied when implement Open Innovation projects and programs through a label approach.
2. Research background – why contract?
Companies are developing different tools and mechanisms in order to manage their openness and coordinate different innovation resources. Research and literature on Intellectual Property has not produced many works in the Open Innovation field. Rather, the legal aspect of Open Innovation was associated with free and open source code development in the software industry and user generated content types (Lee and al., 2010, von Hippel and von Krogh 2003).
In this study, we follow the work of Fauchart and von Hippel who argue that in general, we can analyze two Intellectual Property systems to manage Intellectual Property rights: “law-based” IP systems and “norm-based” IP systems.
- Fauchart and von Hippel defined law-based IP systems as detailed bodies of legislation and case law spell out the rights an owner can claim to specific types of Intellectual Property, and procedures by which these rights can be claimed. Specifically, patent grant, the copyright, right to protect trade secrets, the creative barcode, etc. are examples of law-based tools.
- An important question regarding the transactions in Open Innovation processes, from our point of view is related to the trustworthiness of the transaction network. This context is even more important when it comes to industries or cases where it is difficult or impossible to claim Intellectual Property rights on the knowledge (Lee, 2009) or when knowledge is co-created (Valkakori et al. 2009, Paasi et al. 2010). For convenience, Fauchart and von Hippel introduced norm-based Intellectual Property systems: they operate on social norms that may not be written down, but that are nonetheless widely known and viewed as valid by members of a community. (Fauchart and von Hippel, 2006). One example of the tool for managing this issue is the ISO 26000 International Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, an International standard set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Specifically, this standard is not appropriate for certifications purposes or regulatory or contractual use (Clause 1).
To conclude, Intellectual Property law enables regulation of the question of Intellectual Property ownership over the knowledge (Lee, 2009). In contrast, it does not regulate how these rights may be coordinated or managed, in what hierarchy (Lee et al.). To do so, research and literature indicate that contracts are the best governance tools for managing transactions. (Wiliamson 1985, Lee et al., Lee 2009, Valkakori et al. 2009, Fauchert et al. 2006, etc.).
Our study addresses the research gap created between the Open Innovation and Intellectual Property law by providing a structure for optimal contract content.
Methodology used for this study is analyses of ten online platforms and their IP systems that are managing their transactions via on-line sites, in order to compare the best practices. Also, we conducted several interviews with managers who are working on Intellectual Property aspects, somewhat in the context of Open Innovation. Expected result is an optimal content contract which gives the overview of general conditions recommended for building trustworthy relations with clients. This study does not tend to be exhaustive; rather it tends to enable a managing tool for Open Innovation transactions that can help to our clients and to other Open Innovation practitioners.
4. Contract proposition
The content of this contract aims to be applied when the company’s transactions are carried out via their on-line sites. Most notably, it can be applied to every on-line platform for Open Innovation.
The proposed contract represent the first version of the ‘bluenove label’. In fact, our objective is to enable its amelioration and development by opening presented research to Open Innovation ecosystem.
4.1.1. Basic principals (trustfulness of information provided by Seeker/Solver)
- Limitation of liability and warranties
- Legal aspect of contract – related to the Web
4.1.2. Seeker’s aspect:
- Anonymity – optional
- Submitting a problem – exclusivity and it’s specification
- Awards delivery
- Group of seekers on the same project
4.1.3. Solver’s aspect:
- Site (profiles and data)
- Responsibility (that he has all the rights over the solutions or ideas that he is providing)
- Intellectual Property – over a proposed solution
- Confidentiality (considers the information provided by seeker)
- Group of solvers on the same project
4.1.4. Additional: Aspect that considers solutions such as ideas, designs, etc.
In the table to download below, we detail more explicitly every lever of the contract.
Notice: If you share those values and if you tend to apply this basic contract principles in your Open Innovation practice, please use the logo herebelow (copy/paste the image) and linked it to this address. In this case you can self-declare that your approach is ‘APPROVED by bluenove’.
If you want a more detailed or updated version of the contract as well as if you want to move from APPROVED to ‘CERTIFIED by bluenove’, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will propose a diagnosis for your company.
Please notice that this contract model represents the first version of the “bluenove label » that tends to be improved. If you are interested to contribute or/and to follow its advancement, you can join our group ’out of the blue’ (opening soon).
Thank you in advance for contacting us at the following email address to inform us if you tend to use this label: email@example.com.
5. ‘Opening the science’ – Future development of the ‘bluenove label’
However, there is a certain number of limitations for the application of this label. We found that limitation that considers geographical location is most important limit, as the laws of one country apply only inside the boarders of that country. Also, some types of knowledge or industries may require more specialized approach and specialized or additional clauses to be defined in the contract.
Therefore, the ‘bluenove label’, based on comparison of number of best practices, represent the first version of this study. We are opening this research to the OI ecosystem in order to boost the debates that will help to better understand and consequently, to better manage the issues regarding the Intellectual Property Rights in Open Innovation processes. Researchers and scholars, companies, consultants, experts are invited to contribute to the spread and evolution of the ‘bluenove label’.
Researcher at bluenove , and a PhD student at Université Paris-Dauphine (on-going Thesis on Open Innovation)
One of the ‘outoftheblue’ platform community managers.
List of the programs and platforms that are ‘APPROVED by bluenove’ coming soon here below