Explaining the Role of Specialized Catalysts as Protectors of Technological Knowledge of Refining and Petrochemical Processes

Document Type : Promotional article


Commercialization and Business Development Department, Technology Management Division, Research Institute or Petroleum Industr


Innovative firms operating in the refining and petrochemical industry protect their innovative process technologies through patent; however, patents do not protect them completely. Because of the low effectiveness of patent for the protection of process technologies in the refining and petrochemical industries, these companies in order to consolidate and strengthen the protection and seizure economic benefits of their process technologies over a more extended period, using other protection methods simultaneously. The refining and petrochemical industry uses various technologies in a wide range of complexity, many of which are related to processes whose commercial exploitation requires public disclosure of the details of the technology due to the predominance of the licensing model in commercialization. Therefore, reverse engineering, which is used by licensee companies, is not complicated. As a result, in such cases, trade secrets cannot be a useful tool for protecting technological knowledge. The high cost of technology development, proof, and commercialization, along with the substantial benefits of technology utilization and the highly imitable nature of process technologies in the industry, cause the patent system to be used as a protection tool. However, because of its low effectiveness, process technology providers in this field use other protection methods simultaneously, including complementary technologies. One of these measures is to put its technology in a consulting engineering services company and is to provide a license associate with engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and so on for customers as an integrated package. Another measure is to use complementary technologies in the form of specialized catalysts for their innovative processes. Accordingly, this paper examines the role of patent in the protection of process technologies in the refining and petrochemical industry and its effectiveness. Also, this research investigates the reasons for the action of innovative actors in the refining and petrochemical industry to protect their process technologies through specialized catalysts as a complementary technology.


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