Research and development is a vital part of every successful high-tech company. However, as a company searches for new products or improvements on existing product lines, a portion of the ideas that are generated and initial research that is performed are never commercially exploited. Frequently, even though the underlying product or process has been patented, the project is abandoned or otherwise idled, and the company’s resources are directed elsewhere.

These abandoned research projects are referred to as “orphan technology.” More specifically, this term refers to patents that are awarded but the corresponding technology is never developed for commercial use.

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