Case Detail

Case Summary


Case Number: 5-406-753, Year Published: 2006

HBS Number: KEL288

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Authors: James Gerard Conley; Susan Deutsch; James Fields; Richard Wong

Key Concepts

Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Management, Intellectual Property Rights, Patents, Infringement, Trademarks, Distribution, Distribution Channels, Product Management, Marketing Strategy, Technology Management


ESPE, the market leader, is a medium-sized German manufacturer of precision dental impression materials competing in a shrinking market. To grow the business, ESPE invests substantial resources in innovating impression materials and associated distribution mechanisms. Squeezed by the shrinking market, the competition is increasingly using the proprietary channels (dispensing mechanisms) and brand equity (trademark) of ESPE to maintain their market share. There is a potential infringement. The case explores how ESPE is organized to execute on the options imbedded in their IP rights.

Number of Pages: 19

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management, Manufacturing, Marketing, Operations, Strategy, Technology

Geographic: Germany

Industry: Dental Impression Materials

Organization Name: 3M ESPE AG

Organization Size: Medium

Decision Maker Position: Director of IP and R&D

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2001