“Entrepreneurs barriers innovation to imitation are never needed if you are a good entrepreneur have the ability to appropriate value from an innovation.” Agree or Disagree


 For many companies’ patents and intellectual property rights can be a great thing because it allows them to recoup any costs they incurred in the development of their product, but are patents really beneficial to science in any other way than for the use of recouping R & D costs.

Businesses take steps to protect their physical property, such as equipment, raw materials, and buildings, but it is just as important that they protect their intellectual property.

Barriers to Imitation:

In existing business, new ideas and innovation are brought by the R& D of the company. They lead to the creation of new products and service which bring of a better way doing something. Such as an established technology personal computer company plunged into the cell phone market and digital music market by launching iPod and iPhone. Entrepreneurs also bring a new idea and innovation when they start a new venture to add value to their economies. The competitors on the other side get inspiration and also start inventing new products which may be the imitation of what has already been developed or introduced in the market in order to save huge development costs and beat the competition.

Entrepreneurs have to protect their unique innovative idea and market offering from being copied by competition which may erode their uniqueness as in “Unique Selling Proposition”.  With this limitation, their innovative offering would not generate differentiation and give the customers more perceived choices.

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Then entrepreneurs would not be able to get the desired market share and their chances to achieve sustainable competitive advantage also decrease, as the imitation become the practice in the market.

Entrepreneurs need to protect their innovation from imitation which comes in many forms such as current claim “we do the same thing”, a future promise, as in “we will have that feature, too”. The worst scenario can be a rapid replica of the actual product or method of business. This latter that entrepreneurs need to care most about when their uncontested market space threatened by new entrants or imitation.

Intellectual Property Rights and Barriers to Innovation:

The entrepreneurs can make use of various barriers to imitation such as deterrence, preemption, resource immobility, causal ambiguity, barriers to resource replication etc.  They can achieve these barriers by using intellectual property rights (IPR) such as Patents, Copy Rights, Trade Marks, Design, Circuit Layout Rights, Plant Variety Rights, and Trade Secrets and Confidential Information to protect their innovative technology, unique brand name, design, and creativity behind the whole innovation.

They must also observe the fact that, the value of their brand and unique design of the product is greater than that of warehouse and office blocks, the physical property as we are living in a knowledge economy. For instance, new versions and models of mobile phones are brought into the market rapidly. They are made of up plastic and aluminum and other circuit boards, but their real value that differentiates them from competitors are improved technology for faster communication, music, digital photography, cool designs, and renowned global brands.

However, for sustainable competitive advantage and long-term protection of their innovation, entrepreneurs must choose the various barriers to innovation simultaneously such as:

They can protect their innovation in the form of new product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to some existing problem by patents which provides theme exclusive rights to exploit it for usually 20 years. In this way, they ensure that this invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without their consent.  However, the entrepreneurs may license their invention in order to exploit new markets which are difficult to reach due to limited resources. Similarly, they can create barriers against the appearance of their products by Design Rights, brand names and logos by Trade Marks; and stop copying creativity in the form of new artistic work or software by Copyright.

Samsung and Apple are mired in a series of legal battles that began in April when Apple sued Samsung in California, claiming the South Korean company’s smartphones and tablets had “slavishly” copied the iPhone and iPad. Apple accuses Samsung of infringing some patents related to its designs and user interface, while Samsung alleges the U.S. company violated its telecommunications technology patents.

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Innovation and Barrier used: Coca Cola

The bottlers of Coca-Cola in the early 1900s had their share of challenges. Probably the most persistent and serious was protecting the product and the package from imitation. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in the business world it can mean the death of a good name.  Early advertising warned of the perils of popularity. “Demand the genuine” and “Accept no substitutes” reminded consumers to settle for nothing less than the real thing.

The never-ending battle against substitution was the major force behind the evolution of the distinctive hobble-skirt bottle. A variety of straight-sided containers was used through 1915, but as soft-drink competition intensified, so did imitation. Coca-Cola deserved a distinctive package, and in 1916, the bottlers approved the unique contour bottle designed by the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana.

The now-familiar shape was granted registration as a trademark by the U.S. Patent Office in 1977, an honor accorded only a handful of other packages. The bottle thus joined the trademarks “Coca-Cola,” registered in 1893, and “Coke®,” registered in 1945.


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