Dissertation Abstracts

New Aspects of Intellectual Property Protection in the Context of Innovation Systems (The Case of Slovenia)

Author: Modic, Dolores , dollymod@gmail.com
Department: Sociology
University: School of Advanced Social Studies, Slovenia
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Frane Adam
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: Slovenian

Keywords: Intellectual Propert , Innovation Systems , Patents , Slovenia
Areas of Research: Science and Technology , Law , Social Transformations and Sociology of Development


The doctoral dissertation discusses Intellectual Property Rights (IPR's) in the context of Innovation Systems in Slovenia. Within innovation systems, IPR's may be playing both a facilitating and restrictive role, depending on how individual actors of innovation systems use them.

The current era may be labeled the critical IPR era or the era of the IPR's paradox. The criticism has been directed at the low level of patent (and other IPRs) efficiency and also diminishing quality of IPRs. In other words, today's world of IPRs is one of probabilistic IPRs. Furthermore, IPRs cannot be examined in isolation from other (informal) mechanisms as they are either complementary or alternative. A holistic approach is also used within this doctoral dissertation.

The dissertation upgrades the theory in the field of IPR's. It does so by contributing to the discourse on their role within the innovation systems, which has so far remained - within the works dealing with innovation systems - interestingly absent. It was taken into account that IPRs can also act as innovation facilitators. They could do so mainly through creating incentives for further innovation, limiting uncertainty, enabling access to information, managing conflicts through their role within the cooperative relationships and by directing resources of innovative activities. The doctoral dissertation thus provides an analysis of the potential role(s) of IPRs, simultaneously taking into account they also may be a factor in limiting innovation. It is our assumption, that the decisive factor in the role that IPRs play is depends on the way in which individual actors use them. We therefore do not advocate a mere quantitative increase of the use of IPRs, but strive towards progress in terms of high-quality IPRs.

Slovenia is generally (still) characterized by its sub-optimal situation in the field of IPRs. The first part of the empirical study provides an analysis of the Slovenian innovation system in the context of intellectual property. The second empirical part presents the topography of the Slovenian IPR landscape, since previous analyses were either incomplete, managed to present a distorted picture (patents) or were virtually non-existent (for designs and trademarks). The third empirical part is a qualitative analysis. It shows there are five very important factors that actors need to successfully use (quality) Intellectual Property Rights: the existence of innovation, knowledge, finance, (previous) experience and motivation. This dissertation provides, as a pragmatic contribution, a model for intellectual property protection, using (primarily) the mechanism of IPRs. We believe it is primarily useful for small and medium-sized enterprises.
We conclude that given the way that IPRs are used by Slovenian actors, the Intellectual Property Rights per se may not be attributed the role of a facilitator, especially also due to the lack of knowledge. The latter is identified as an important and unresolved issue. The dissertation also puts forward several macro level proposals for the improvement of IPR policies.