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Understanding the Relevance of Market Research for Patents

Significance of market research: An overview

Understanding market trends and business environments play a crucial role in the development and successfulness of a particular product or service. More specifically, market research that is conducted before filing a patent or after obtaining one may help an inventor scrutinize the market environment for a particular invention. This may include identifying the key competitors, understanding the scope of commercialization of a particular invention, identifying the gaps in a particular area that the invention could fill, and examining the emerging technological developments in a particular industry. Market research that is conducted prior to or after patenting an invention may encourage an inventor or a patentee to identify potential commercial or non-commercial entities who may be willing to purchase or license the patent.

Identifying pre-existing inventions that may be similar to an applicant’s invention and expansion opportunities

Most often than not, It is highly crucial to extensively analyze the market space related to a particular domain and conduct thorough market research before filing a patent. Through thorough market research, an applicant can examine if there are any pre-existing patents in a particular industry that are similar to the applicant’s inventions. This would help the applicant speculate the commercial viability and lucrativeness of a particular invention. One of the outcomes of a thorough market search is that if an applicant notes that there are pre-existing inventions in the market that are similar to their invention, the inventor/applicant can accordingly strategize the development, marketing, application, and other aspects pertaining to the invention to exploit it to a great extent commercially.

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Thus, through market research, the applicant/inventor can make more informed decisions with respect to the pricing and distribution channels. Market research will also help a patentee scrutinize the expansion opportunities in a particular domain. For instance, conducting an in-depth study on a particular market space would help the patentee enumerate the areas wherein their invention can contribute. It allows the patentee to examine the current developments and speculate if there is room for their invention. Market research may also help a patentee identify areas in a domain that are under-serviced or commercially thriving.

Quantitative and qualitative market research for patents and inventions

Market research that takes place prior to filing a patent can be broadly divided into two categories: Quantitative and qualitative research. Quantitative market research conducted prior to filing a patent may help an applicant assess the percentage of the population who’d buy the invention. This can be done with the help of surveys and questionnaires. Through quantitative market research, the inventor is made aware of the market while understanding the customer profiles related to a particular invention. On the other hand, qualitative research may help the inventor gain insights into the various factors that may impact the commercial viability of the invention.

Furthermore, market research may help an inventor identify the domains that are under-serviced or are in demand. Market research with respect to a particular domain would analyze the outcomes that the invention is likely to bring to the market. It may also help the inventor identify the key issues that the invention can solve in the long run.

Relevance of market research in fuelling further Research and Development and prevention of infringement actions

Conducting market research may also help fuel further Research and Development. An inventor may identify the various components of research required for further developing the invention or the level of advancement of a particular invention or related inventions. This way, the applicant can identify the various aspects of the invention which may require further Research and Development upon identifying the Research and Development that other inventions have undergone in the market. Market research may also prevent the chances of infringement actions. An inventor, through market research, can assess if any pre-existing inventions have claims that are similar to the patentee’s claims. Analyzing the claims of pre-existing inventions available in the market may help an inventor draft their claims or create the invention so that it would not infringe upon pre-existing inventions available in the market. Thorough market research may also reveal the legal status of various pre-existing patents. This way, an inventor can assess the reasons behind an inventor not receiving a patent and can thus, improve their own patent application. Furthermore, market research may help the inventor assess the novelty and patentability of an invention. This way, the inventor can assess if any further amendments must be made to ensure that the invention is novel enough for the market space.

Conducting market research to plan new inventions related to a pre-existing invention

Conducting market research may also allow an inventor to plan new inventions related to a pre-existing invention. Analyzing pre-existing inventions in the market may allow the inventor or the patentee to assess the ways in which an invention can be modified or created to cater to the problems that a particular domain is faced with. Additionally, this can also help an inventor or a patentee gauge the possible ways the invention can be commercialized in the market.

Market research to identify key competitors and related components

One of the most valuable outcomes of market research is that it allows an inventor to identify key competitors and understand or assess their research activities. This may include understanding a competitor’s prices, distribution channels, and business strategies for their respective inventions. Understanding a competitor’s inventions through a market search may allow an inventor to identify what can be improved in their own invention. Furthermore, this may also help an inventor examine if there is a severe gap in a particular domain that the patentee’s invention can fill. Lastly, thorough market research will help an inventor add certain amendments to their patent application and their invention. In sum, it can be said that assessing your competitor’s inventions through market research could potentially fuel further research and development. Thus, it can be concluded that market research plays a vital role before filing a patent. Conducting market research can help an inventor make informed decisions concerning their patent application. Additionally, market research may also be helpful for inventors who have already patented their inventions since it would help fuel further research and development and may indirectly contribute to the overall flourishment of the invention in a market space.

Author: Sanjana, a BBA LLB student of  Symbiosis Law School (Hyderabad), in case of any queries please contact/write back to IIPRD at [email protected].

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