Assessing the strength of your issued patents with a thorough patent evaluation process is an important element of patent portfolio management. Without an idea of patent quality, and therefore no understanding of what a patent is worth in the context of your business or industry, it’s hard to make strategic decisions about your intellectual property.
3 Patent Quality Metrics
To begin analyzing a patent’s place within your portfolio, you must understand three critical drivers of patent value: legal strength, technology strength, and commercial value. Viewing these metrics individually and collectively can help you make more insightful decisions about patent applications, portfolio pruning, and renewals, as well as identifying third-party patents as potential targets for licensing or acquisition.
An informed approach to patent quality can help you weed out weaker candidates and invest in those with the most commercial potential. Assessing quality using key patent quality metrics is not an exact science. The value of a patent also depends on some variable elements that are unique to your business and industry, such as risk, demand, and business goals.
In order to be patented, a technology must be novel, non-obvious, and useful. Identifying technologies that are (or are not) deserving of patent protection is, in some ways, the responsibility of an applicant in addition to their patent examiner. However, the final decision falls on patent examiners, who are human and have limited time to review each patent application.
These limitations result in granted patents that are not valid. Using a third-party tool, you can analyze a peer group of patents to determine how active and innovative the market is, and how novel your patent is relative to that activity.
To prove its quality, a patent “must not only be government-issued but battle-tested,” meaning that it is well-positioned to stand up to legal challenges or can be used to challenge infringing activities. High-quality patents have clear scopes with limited ambiguity that make them less complex to defend. A large family of patents makes legal strength easier to identify, especially if some of these patents were granted in countries with more selective patent offices.
Statistical models can help you predict the economic value of the market that’s protected by your patent. From there, you can determine the economic value of the patent itself based on the resulting product’s potential market share.