Managing Intellectual Capital
by David J Teece
Oxford University Press, 2000
ISBN 0 19 829541 3
Dr Charles Oppenheim
This book is one of the Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies series. It represents the culmination of many years of Teece's research into technology transfer and the so-called appropriability of intellectual property rights assets. It may be of little interest to most JILTreaders as its focus is on strategic and management issues in handling IPRs, rather than legal aspects, and it has relatively little to say about IT except by way of using certain IT based companies as case studies.
2. Intellectual Capital?
Whilst the book is an impressive distillation of Teece's highly regarded work, there are some problems with the book. Firstly, the title is completely misleading, as Intellectual Capital is far greater than just patents and copyrights held by an organisation. Indeed, I suspect many will buy this book expecting or hoping for a much more wide-ranging text than is actually presented here. Also, the book includes an Appendix of detailed mathematical calculations on Pilkington Glass, no doubt based on a case study that Teece did, but which does not fit into the broad strategic management thrust of the book. Finally, although based on a series of lectures given by the author, many of the chapters appear to be reprints of articles Teece has written in the past. Embarrassingly, then, some of the chapters refer to events of a decade ago without bringing them up to date.
3. Controversial Comments
Some of the comments made by Teece are controversial, for example: 'For software, patent protection is uncommon', and 'the last decade has seen modestly successful efforts to strengthen regimes of IPR'. Teece fails to note that for the vast majority of organisations that are not quoted on the Stock Exchange, access to equity funding is not appropriate. The claim that it is impossible for an inventor to be successful based on IPRs is when the inventor is very rich will raise a few eyebrows amongst people such as Hickman (Workmate) Dyson (vacuum cleaners) and Bayliss (wind up radio). His discussion on valuation of IPR fails to mention Smith and Parr's standard text on the subject (Smith & Parr, 1994).
There are a few minor typographical errors and sometimes the author uses specialised jargon unlikely to be understood by the average manager. Some of the bibliography entries refer to unpublished working papers, or are incomplete. The book is supported by a reasonable index.
Overall, this book provides a good overview of Teece's wide research and management interests. It is a pity it has a misleading title and that some of the chapters are dated. Readers of JILT are, however, unlikely to find much of interest to them in the text.
Notes and References
Smith, G V and Parr, R L (1994), Valuation of Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets (2nd ed.), Chichester, Wiley.
This is a Book Review published on 6 December 2003.
Citation: Oppenheim, C, 'Managing Intellectual Capital by David J Teece, Book Review, The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT) 2002 (3) <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/02-3/oppenheim.html>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2002_3/oppenheim/>.