Despite the high interest of scholars in identifying successful inventions, little attention has been devoted to investigate how (fast) the novel ideas embodied in original inventions are re-used in follow-on inventions. We overcome this limitation by empirically mapping and characterizing the trajectory of novel technologies' re-use in follow-on inventions. Specifically, we consider the factors affecting the time needed for a novel technology to be legitimated as well as to reach its full technological impact. We analyze how these diffusion dynamics are affected by the antecedent characteristics of the novel technology. We characterize novel technologies as those that make new combinations with existing technological components and trace these new combinations in follow-on inventions. We find that novel technologies combining for the first time technological components which are similar and which are familiar to the inventors' community require a short time to be legitimated but show a low technological impact. In contrast, combining for the first time technological components with a science-based nature generates technologies with a long legitimation time but also high technological impact.
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- technological novelty, diffusion, combinatorial components, patent data