To be successful, businesses must regularly examine the technology and competitor landscape. Understanding who is patenting technology similar to yours allows you to approximate shifts in the market and underlying trends. Just as important as familiarizing yourself with the inventions other entities are patenting is identifying areas where they aren’t patenting. Identifying and analyzing this white space in the patent landscape allows businesses to bring a technology to market first—a distinct competitive advantage.
What is White Space?
White space is, at its core, an opportunity. The space, generally in or near a business’s core competencies, is void of innovation. Patent landscape analysis and competitive intelligence show little-to-no patents or other technical literature on the topic. Customer research may also identify these areas as unserved or underserved needs.
White Space Analysis
Discovering white space in your industry is not enough to inform strategic business decisions. Carefully analyzing white space identified with the help of AI allows organizations to understand the patent landscape they operate in.
What can your organization learn from a white space analysis?
White space can be identified within your organization or across your industry. Looking at areas where your business specifically lacks patented technology in comparison to competitors is potentially eye-opening. This approach to white space mapping could identify areas that require designing around competitors’ intellectual property or entering licensing agreements.
You can also look for white space within your industry and others like it. Pinpoint areas with almost no patented technology that could be advantageous for your business. Innovating toward industry-wide white space encourages true innovation, rather than simply keeping up with competitors. A focus on these spaces before competitors may allow you to enter the market first, resulting in a lasting competitive advantage.
Areas lacking innovation are likely business opportunities. Pursuing, patenting, and bringing these opportunities to market require resources. With opportunities clearly identified, it’s easier to strategically allocate time, talent, budgets, and other resources to inventions filling a void in the market. These decisions require an interdisciplinary perspective, with R&D, legal, business development, and marketing teams playing a role.
Meet Customer Needs
Most businesses pursue innovation with the goal of marketability. New products and services must meet customers’ needs in order to succeed. White space, which may have been identified in both technical literature and conversations with customers, represents unmet needs. In new areas of innovation, customers may not even yet realize these needs. The organizations that first articulate and address these needs enjoy long-lasting customer loyalty.
Opportunities identified through white space mapping inform strategic plans for the future, including how a business will grow and whether or not it will diversify. Thorough white space analysis can not only pinpoint gaps within existing industries’ technology landscapes. Examining white space beyond core competencies can also identify technology trends pointing to entirely new industries adjacent to their current operations.