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Open AccessArticle

Integrating Intellectual Property and Sustainable Business Models: The SBM-IP Canvas

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The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Business Management and Practice Research Group, Lund University, Tegnérsplatsen 4, P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
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Centre for Technology Management, Institute for Manufacturing, Innovation and IP Management Laboratory, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0FS, UK
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School of Business and Economics, Maastricht Sustainability Institute, Maastricht University, Tapijn 11 Building D, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
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Faculty Culture and Design, University of Applied Sciences for Technology and Economics (HTW) Berlin, 12459 Berlin, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8871; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218871
Received: 19 July 2020 / Revised: 29 September 2020 / Accepted: 30 September 2020 / Published: 26 October 2020
Companies attempt to address global sustainability challenges through innovating products, services, and business models. This paper focuses on sustainable business model (SBM) innovations as a way to systemically transform businesses towards sustainability. It has been widely recognized that strategic approaches to using intellectual property (IP) need to be aligned with business model innovation for commercial success. Here we suggest that IP, aligned with SBMs, can also be used to create not only commercial, but also societal and environmental impact. Knowledge about how to best align IP with SBMs to drive sustainability transitions remains limited. We address this gap by developing an SBM-IP canvas that integrates IP considerations into each of the SBM canvas building blocks. We do this by employing relevant theoretical concepts from three literature streams, namely the business model (including SBM), IP, and innovation literature. We use case examples to illustrate different IP considerations that are relevant for the SBM-IP building blocks. These examples show that different IP types (e.g., patents, trademarks) and ways of using them (e.g., more or less restrictive licensing) are applied by companies in relation to the different building blocks. While covering new theoretical ground, the proposed SBM-IP canvas can help decision makers understand how they can use different IP types strategically to propose, create, deliver, and capture sustainable value for society, environment, and the business. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable business models (SBMs); intellectual property (IP); sustainability transition; business model canvas; IP strategy sustainable business models (SBMs); intellectual property (IP); sustainability transition; business model canvas; IP strategy
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Hernández-Chea, R.; Vimalnath, P.; Bocken, N.; Tietze, F.; Eppinger, E. Integrating Intellectual Property and Sustainable Business Models: The SBM-IP Canvas. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8871.

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