Defining intermediaries

The following definition of Technology Market Intermediaries (TMI) is based on my book „Technology Market Transactions„. TMI are understood as firms that offer knowledge-based services, sometimes labeled ‘knowledge intensive business services’ (KIBS).7 Although TMI might purchase technologies from independent inventors, I assume
that most of their daily business focuses on business to business related
transactions. I suggest adjusting the general definition of intermediaries to
specifically focus on intermediaries acting on the Markets for Technologies and Innovations (MfTI). I thus propose the following definition:

  • TMI are for profit, risk taking firms attempting to advance the MfTI through the
    development of models that facilitate transactions of intangible assets, supporting
    innovation processes through interaction with primarily technology-based
    firms, predominantly without adding value or holding property of the asset.

The scope of this definition should be considered as rather narrow, in order
to capture the new phenomenon of intermediaries. Hence, this definition
also relates to the concept of brokers and dealers that have been present on
the MfTI for a long time (for example, labeled ‘specialized engineering
firms’ by Arora et al. (2001)). However, the emphasis is on novel transaction
governance structures (for example, auctions) or the use of information
and communication (ICT) technologies (that is the internet), for instance the
online technology market place Yet2.com. Consequently, this definition
excludes traditional patent law firms (PLF), as their concept is rather loosely
related to the broker concept as discussed by, for instance, Hargadon and
Sutton (1997), that is firms that ‘execute transactions for clients.’ Although
PLF can be considered KIBSs and engage in transactions offering mainly
case-by-case services (for example, designing idiosyncratic contracts), TMI
are concerned with the development of novel transaction models. Nevertheless,
it is important to note that major PLF have recently started to enlarge
their portfolio of activities by including novel services and, for instance,
have started to staff management positions. Such firms are included in the
definition, while I exclude traditional PLF offering only legal services (for
example, patent application and litigation support).