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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

James K.C. Chen and Van Kien Pham

The purpose of this paper is to determine the development and knowledge flows of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) via the use of patent inventor database. Moreover, this…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the development and knowledge flows of dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) via the use of patent inventor database. Moreover, this study aims to explore patentees and inventors’ companies to help readers and practitioners to be able to understand the patentees, technology development and activities of knowledge flows from four countries. DSSCs, which are known as one of the key technologies of green energy, have been applied ever more widely to many different industries, and their use has quickly grown with a number of scientific publications and patent applications.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper was based on the US patent database collection of third-generation DSSCs in four typical countries such as USA, Japan, Germany and Taiwan to map the knowledge network of DSSC technology via the social network analysis method.

Findings

The knowledge network of 132 DSSC patents was explored. Among the four countries, Japan leads, with the main patent number being H01G009. This paper also indicates the knowledge flow situation of Japanese inventors of DSSCs. For example, patented inventors Wariishi and Koji (JP) served the Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. (JP) in 2002, and then in 2008, transferred to the Fuji Film Corporation (JP). This means that the knowledge of technology was transferred by people who moved to another company for a new job.

Research limitations/implications

This study is based on US Patent and Trademark Office patent database to do exploration.

Practical implications

This study was expected to provide information for the industry, government and academia, so that they will understand the trajectory of the technology inventor, specialist cultivation and technology development in the DSSC industry.

Originality/value

This study provides useful information for the green energy industry, government and academia to understand the importance of the knowledge flows and future development of DSSC technology of the solar cell industry. Thereby, they can intensify industrial competence and innovation by externally collaborating in this field as well as to increase the industrial competence by reimbursing the funds from government and other research institutes.

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