Industry 4.0
: the impact of horizontal integration on manufacturing business models and intellectual property strategies

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The automotive manufacturing industry has been at the forefront of the so called fourth industrial revolution and the related digital transformation efforts which seek to implement digital technologies in individual businesses and to connect value chains in order to gain greater flexibility, reduce time to market and increase levels of productivity.

    As manufacturing businesses digitalise knowledge and integrate their value chains, their business models are transformed, giving rise to a new paradigm with a range of emanating challenges and opportunities. This research is concerned with how the businesses models and intellectual property strategies in the automotive manufacturing value chain are affected by the implementation of Industry 4.0.

    In this endeavour to clarify how manufacturing businesses are addressing this change in paradigm, this research conducted a literature review of Industry 4.0, business models and intellectual property strategies. As part of this study, the researcher collected and analysed empirical data from 31 interviews conducted with 27 senior managers, IP managers and engineers across 15 businesses in the UK automotive manufacturing industry.

    Furthermore, 11 contractual agreements governing the relationships between these businesses were analysed and combined with the interviews into four case studies demonstrating the current and future appropriability regimes (defined for the purposes of this study as the dynamics and the means to protect knowledge and to secure return on investments made on innovation) in the context of the UK automotive manufacturing digital transformation.

    The findings from this study suggest that the UK automotive manufacturing businesses must adapt their IP strategies in order to address the changes in the appropriability regime, tailoring their approach to value appropriation to suit a horizontally connected value chain where multiple complementary assets and protective mechanisms must be utilised in a strategic manner to secure return from investment in digitalisation.

    This research also provides a number of contributions to knowledge and benefits for the organisations involved. A key contribution is a development of two new methods to evaluate the impact of this transformation on manufacturers and to support the mitigation of risk and opportunities, the Manufacturing Appropriability Regime Construct (MARC) and the I4.0 Business and IP Strategy Development Methodology (IBIPS).
    Date of AwardApr 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorAlexeis Garcia-Perez (Supervisor), Stuart Weinstein (Supervisor) & Maureen Meadows (Supervisor)


    • fourth industrial revolution
    • intellectual property
    • business strategy
    • intellectual property strategy
    • manufacturing appropriability regimes

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