Complexity, Intellectual Property and the evolution of the electric vehicles.

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Kyoto (2014)


electric vehicles, innovation, integral design., modular, network, patents


As part of the new institutional economics (Ostrom, 2005) and complex systems (Holland, 2013) we determine the existence of the tragedy of the anti-commons (Heller,2008) and the patent thicket (Shapiro, 2001; Egan & Teece, 2013) in the case of electric vehicles from the analysis of technological classes drawn from relevant patents database (2358 patents) of the United States patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the period 1976-2012.

Using network theory (Kauffman, 1993; Watts, 1999) we describe the evolution of electric vehicle technology, which has grown from a relatively disconnected network to a hierarchically connected network in which i) the technological system is organized into subsystems using a simultaneous process of integration and modularization and ii) verifying the relationship between the technological complexity of the electric vehicle and the existence of patent thicket. Methodologically we show that analysis of technology classes with network theory is a good tool for the analysis and determination of patent thicket.

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