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A structured approach to explore technological competencies through R&D portfolio of photovoltaic companies by patent statistics


When the technological development of an enterprise is path dependent, core technological competencies will develop. In addition, core technological competencies promote technological development. Consequently, enterprises should always examine the advantages of their core technological competencies. Under dynamic competition, enterprises should monitor their own performance as well as their competitors at all times and consequently adjust their technological strategies. This study used two patent indices, Patent Share and Revealed Technological Advantage, to measure the internal core technological competencies of manufacturers. It also integrated four other indices namely: (1) Technology Attractiveness (Relative Growth Rate), (2) growth potential of technologies (Relative Development of Technology Growth Rate), (3) Relative Patent Position, and (4) Revealed Patent Advantages. These were used to analyze the external strengths and weaknesses of the research and development (R&D) portfolios of companies. These two analytical methods can effectively identify the internal core technological competencies and the external advantages of R&D portfolios of leading companies in the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry. This study also discussed the relationship between R&D portfolios and core technological competencies of leading solar photovoltaic companies and compared those with two core technological competencies with those that have a single core technological competence. The study results show that the R&D portfolios of companies engaged in a single, specific technology field have advantages. This study helps improve the quality of technological planning and decision-making of manufacturers, proposes a method of using core technological competencies to analyze the advantages of R&D portfolios, and helps solar PV manufacturers monitor their own core technological competencies as well as their competitors and partner companies.

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Correspondence to Yu-Hsin Chang.

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Lai, K., Lin, C., Chang, Y. et al. A structured approach to explore technological competencies through R&D portfolio of photovoltaic companies by patent statistics. Scientometrics 111, 1327–1351 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2376-0

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  • Solar photovoltaic
  • Patent statistics
  • R&D portfolio
  • Core technological competencies