Patent Landscapes: An Effective Tool for Business and IP Strategy

A Patent landscape is a conglomerate of patent information that provides the most up to date analysis of – who is patenting in any chosen area of technology, what is the innovative focus of companies, businesses and nations; how has a particular technology evolved over a period of time, what has been the filing history and strategies of technology leaders, and of many other pertinent aspects, particularly targeted to direct business benefits.In a complete patent landscape analysis, patent assets(including granted patents, published applications, and unpublished applications) are mapped and analyzed from which important legal, business, and technology information can be derived.

Information derived from a patent landscape analysis is applied within an organization to generate novel technology, to identify possible companies or technologies to license or acquire, to identify orphan patents and thus opportunities for monetization, to design around others’ technology to evade litigation, or to strategically direct research and development toward the open spaces in the patent landscape and steer clear of tracts that are already hemmed-in by densely competing patent activity.

Appropriate approaches are employed to present data to the client in an effective manner such that the client is enabled to ascertain areas of interest quickly and get clear visibility as to which patents are owned by the client, its competitors and other parties. One common approach of presenting data is to organize whole of the data in a spreadsheet, with an area of interest to the client being marked as flagged record.A detailed and non-overlapping hierarchical representation of technology gives an added benefit and clarity to the client. Inclusion of non-patent data and market research is also critical to a comprehensive patent landscape to provide context to the presented patent data.

Top assignee and inventor trendsrender insight into which large companies, startups, universities, and others are most focused in each technology, product, or application area. This information comes in handy to identify potential partners, customers, licensees, and acquisition candidates.Details associated with mergers and acquisitions prove to be a vital piece of information for client as technology transfer and strategic alliances often result from the information covered under sections of mergers and acquisitions.

Patent claims in each technology, product, or market area can be examined and mapped against products for legal analysis pertaining to validity, patentability, or freedom to operate.Effective patent landscape maps or pictorial representations can be analyzed for research, discovery and “white space” opportunities. These graphic visualizations can also be useful for communication and marketing tools – especially to non-patent experts and investors.

A patent landscape can serve an excellent tool for the client, only if it closely addresses the issues important for the client’s business or IP strategy. The landscape should be of adequate granularity to be valuable. A good patent landscape study must always aim to capture the right kind of information and draw out insights from the analyzed information while keeping the end objective of the client as the base.

About the author: Tanu Goyal, Patent Associate at IIPRD and can be reached at: tanu@khuranaandkhurana.com

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