As intellectual property (IP) assets become an increasingly important driver of competitive advantage, companies are looking for better ways to mine their IP for business intelligence. Patent landscaping is an effective way to analyze patent portfolios and extract the types of insights that guide business strategies.
Patent landscaping involves a detailed state-of-the-art search that provides a competitive view of an industry, market segment, or geography from an IP perspective. Executives, technologists, and investors can use patent landscaping to determine how and to what extent competitors are protecting their innovations in critical areas of technology.
Patent landscapes supported by sophisticated patent mapping analytics illustrate the patenting activities of all parties involved in a defined space, and can be segmented by company, date, or other criteria to provide business intelligence across five important strategic areas:
Cost optimization: Does your portfolio contain patents with little or no value? Instead of paying money to maintain them, look for companies in other markets that can make better use of them and would be willing to purchase those assets. Think of it as spring cleaning – an annual exercise to clean out non-strategic IP in which others will find value. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
Enforcement: Landscaping can be helpful in identifying overlapping patents or clusters of patents that are forming around one of your core patents. If large numbers of patents adjacent to your core patent are getting rejected, for example, it’s a likely sign that infringement activity is already taking place. You can use that insight to bring potential infringers to the table for licensing talks or to block competitors from entering the space.
Licensing: Landscaping can help business strategists identify predictive patterns that show the pace and direction of patent activity in core areas. A comprehensive picture of competitor activities can help you to identify opportunities to license patents that improve your portfolio or R&D efforts. You can use similar techniques to identify targets for licensing your less-critical patents.
R&D: Mapping patents over time can uncover important market or technological shifts that help you identify white space opportunities for new products or features. Predictive analytics enabled by landscaping exercises can help you get ahead of market trajectories instead of lagging behind them.
M&A: Patent landscaping can help with the due-diligence process for mergers and acquisitions. Mapping a potential acquisition target’s patents against your company’s portfolio can show how the patents align with or can strengthen your own portfolio.
Patent landscaping is an important exercise that will help you create and shape a quality patent portfolio and support business strategies to generate revenue and mitigate risk.
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