Technology convergence indicates that technologies of different application areas are converted into a new and common unity of technology. Its range spans from inter-field, whereby technologies are converged between heterogeneous fields in homogeneous sector, to a wider inter-sector, whereby technologies belong to heterogeneous technology sector are converged. This paper determined the definition of technology convergence from previous literature and classified patents into technology category depending on patent information. Furthermore, we empirically measure technology convergence degree based on co-classification analysis and estimate its diffusion trend at the entire technology domain level by using overall 1,476,967 of patents filed to the KIPO (Korean Intellectual Property Office) from 1998 to 2010. As a result, potential size and growth rate of technology convergence are varied by both technology and type of technology convergence, i.e.
, inter-field and inter-sector technology convergence. Diffusion pattern of inter-sector technology convergence appears as the more various form than that of inter-field technology convergence. In a relationship between potential size and growth rate of technology convergence, growth rate of technology convergence is in inverse proportion to potential size of technology convergence in general. That is, the faster the growth rate of technology convergence, the smaller the potential size of technology convergence. In addition, this paper found that technology convergence of the instrument and chemistry sector is actively progressing in both inter-field and inter-sector convergence, while the technologies related to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in electrical engineering sector have relatively mature progress of technology convergence, especially in inter-sector technology convergence.
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