Proprietary technology refers to a set of processes, tools or systems that belong exclusively to a business and provide it with a competitive advantage in the market. These can include anything from new manufacturing processes to unique product designs, as well as internal systems and software. Proprietary technologies are valuable assets to their owners, and often involve legal protections like patents, trademarks and copyrights. They may be shared with others via license agreements, but are usually kept secret in order to maintain a proprietary advantage.
Companies go to great lengths to protect their proprietary technology, which they invest much time, energy and money in developing. This is because the value of this know-how lies in its ability to give them a strategic advantage over their competitors in the marketplace, whether through increased product or service development or improved customer service. If these innovations are leaked to the competition, or even just to other competitors, this can be a huge disadvantage that is hard to recover from.
While there are many advantages to proprietary technology, they are not always easy to develop. For example, the process to create a new battery that lasts longer than the competition could take years to perfect and is therefore not a quick win. For this reason, it is important for businesses to be able to combine or innovate their existing technology with other inventions in the market. This is known as recombination and often results in an entirely new and valuable technology that would have never been possible without the initial innovation.