For especially competitive technology fields, patent research can be used to shape the earliest stages of research and development. In pharmaceuticals, electronics and many other high-tech industries, a thorough understanding of the patented technologies that already are in play—or soon will be—is vital to a company’s business strategy and market position.
Patent data analytics tools can help compile this competitive intelligence into a patent landscape report, revealing the consistent leaders in a given technology space, which companies are up-and-coming challengers and the technologies that are already patented against those in the patent pipeline.
Having access to the raw patent data that informs that landscape, however, is not enough. To be of most use, that data needs to be searched, sorted, filtered and analyzed to put it into context. This context forms the basis for the patent landscape reports, becoming a great competitive asset for any company driven by its intellectual property portfolio.
Here are five key parts of a patent landscape and some related questions that can help describe the market realities that will shape future choices:
- Public space: Which technologies already have been patented? Which related patent applications are pending? What is the next advancement of the technology?
- Competitors: Which competitors already hold patents in classes of technology that are strategically important? How many do they hold and when does that IP protection expire? How long have they been active in that space? What new competitors are filing related patents that might pose future challenges?
- Merger & Acquisition: Which competitors are working on similar technologies? How much market share do they control? Do they pose good opportunities for merger, acquisition or other strategic partnerships?
- Implications for R&D: Which areas of technology are most or least densely patented? Where are there gaps in the market where new technologies might have success?
- Portfolio value: Which of a company’s patents are seminal discoveries and which are incremental improvements? Does the company own the necessary IP assets to enable it to bring to market the next evolution of a given technology?