History of patenting and IP management : the case of Japan

This article examines what is termed a “patent culture” in large Japanese companies. While these companies initially developed patent management capabilities under US leadership in order to catch up with Western firms, they have gradually developed specific intellectual property management practices that are now of interest to non-Japanese firms. The article studies the historical conditions for the emergence of this “patent culture” and highlights its main features, particularly in terms of organizational choices and resource allocation.