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Competitor Analysis


Competitor analysis may be defined as an assessment of strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors with regard to their patent, market and business strategies. This analysis provides both an offensive and defensive strategic context to identify opportunities and threats in research area or commercialization of a given asset. Competitive patent analysis is the systematic examination and assessment of the patents assigned to competitors.

Competitor Analysis (Patents) can help in identifying and safeguarding Intellectual Property (IP) by:

  • Identifying possible violation of patents by competitors or vice versa, and timely implementing necessary measures to uphold or protect IP rights.
  • Analysing the patent landscape to identify areas where there is an innovation gapor potential for growth, and creating new or enhanced goods, services, or processes to address those gaps or take advantage of those opportunities.
  • Evaluating performance relative to competitors, and comprehending their innovation strategies, technological choices, and target markets.
  • Foreseeing forthcoming patterns and potential risks in related domains, and adjusting research and development strategy accordingly.

Importance of Competitor Analysis

With regard to Patents, competitor analysis may be conducted from different perspectives of an end user. It could be from the perspective of an inventor, a legislator, or a business owner.

1. Inventor’s perspective

Competitor analyst should provide the inventor with some directional inputs for unique innovationthat has practical applications, and may not be considered non-obvious or be anticipated by any  prior publication or prior use.  Such an analysis may involve the following steps:

Step 1: Searching and analyzing prior art

Any information that was made available to the public before to the filing date of patent application, including publications, patents, product, and services, is referred to as prior art. Competitor analyst should determine whether or not an invention is available to public and how it is differentiable from the solutions already known in the prior art. This step increases inventor’s chances of getting a legitimate and enforceable patent and saves time/effort/cost by avoiding any pursuit of a patent that is likely to be denied or invalidated.

Step 2: Drafting and filing Patent specification

Applicant can prepare and file patent application in a way that clearly describes the scope and claims of the invention and that provides enough information to allow others to practice invention based on the findings of prior art search and analysis. The levels of abstraction, lexicography, narrative and enablement of the embodiments can be orchestrated based on what is already known. Depending on target markets and competitor, applicant can also select the appropriate filing jurisdictions and tactics for patent application.

Step 3: Monitoring and enforcing Patent rights

Once the patent is granted, patentee can keep an eye on competitors’ patenting activity and identify any possible infringements by associated products. Additionally, patentee can pursue legal action against infringers, negotiate licenses, and file infringement suit to enforce patent rights.

2. Business owner’s perspective

As a business owner, typical goal is to increase the value of products, services, or procedures while also developing and preserving a competitive advantage over competitor (barrier to entry). Also, the business owners may want to stay clear of any legal issues or disputes that can damage the brand value. By managing and mitigating legal risks, business owners can avoid or minimize any potential litigation or liability that could arise from patent activities of competitors. Business owners can proactively comply with the relevant laws and regulations in the related industry and jurisdictions.

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