As per World intellectual Property Right, “Patent landscape reports (PLRs) provide a snapshot of the patent situation of a specific technology, either within a given country or region, or globally. They can inform policy discussions, strategic research planning or technology transfer. They may also be used to analyse the validity of patents based on data about their legal status.”
Patent landscape analysis is also popularly known as ‘Patent Mapping’ is a detailed and comprehensive study to determine and understand the trend, need and scope of a particular technology intended to be invented by the company. It is a multi-step process and a complex patent viability test which not only requires human expertise but also requires certain software to predict the viability of the impugned technology in the future. This type of patent viability search is been carried out by MNCs, research organization and few startups whose idea of developing a particular invention requires a huge amount of resources and thus have to be prepared of the risk profit ratio before venturing into such new technology.
As we know, the process of acquiring a patent is a lengthy and time-consuming process wherein the company has to plan and allocate its valuable resources including but not limited to human resources, monetary resources time etc.
A profitable patent shall be the one that shall reap high profits and has high marketable value, thus a company before initiating the process of inventing a breakthrough in technology by investing a huge sum of money shall carry certain state of the art searches to determine the patentability, novelty and marketability of such patent in order to be a profitable venture.
There is various type of initial searches which can be carried out before the initiation of Research and Development. Patent Landscape analysis is one such detailed prior art searches that scrutinize various scope of the patent in various arenas.
We shall be discussing the process and format for Patent landscape analysis taking an example of a hypothetical invention of a smartphone with an unlimited battery invented by X company.
Basic Contents of Patent Landscape Analysis:
A patent landscape analysis report ideally consists of a detailed study of important legal, business and technology information which may impact its patentability, marketability and shall give an overview of related technological advancement being made by competing companies in the said technology. It has a set of technical references which shall provide the company a better picture of the value of its invention considering the business and legal environment related to the said invention. A patent landscape analysis is generally carried out by a team of experts who have wide knowledge about both technical and legal aspects of a patent which shall be used to predict the estimated result of the patent considering various market scenarios. In an intense Patent Landscape analysis experts from all the fields including but not limited to the legal field, technical field, sales department, manufacturing department, marketing houses and big business groups come together to analyze the risk-reward ratio of the impugned invention. It gives a comparative analysis of the past, present and future trends of the technology to guide the company regarding the estimated revenue from the patent. Thus in short a Patent landscape analysis report shall give an insight to the company regarding the legal, technological aspect of the invention to guide them with the particular technology.
In the current scenario, in the patent landscape analysis, the company must be provided with a report of the trends in the smartphone industry and how technology changing the battery component shall be novel and the estimated market shift in the future. It must also contain the content of patentability of such technology by Patent offices, all the companies which are working towards such technology, their process, any published prior arts remotely or proximately connected to the current technology which shall guide the company to invest resources in a manner which shall eventually lead to profitability without any hindrance to the company.
Benefits of Patent Landscape Analysis:
It provides the prior art available in the field relating to the technology for the researchers and innovators to understand important aspects of the subject matter and allows them to potentially build, develop or even modify their technology so that it does not infringe previously filed patents.
Patent Landscape Analysis provides the inventing company a detailed idea of companies which are involved with the trading, use of the technology which shall be further employed to formulate business plans and help them estimate the licensing fee, sale of their inventions etc… and also plan for mergers, acquisitions, business venture etc…, hence PLR can be highly beneficial to stratesize a business plan beforehand.
PLRs use a very prudent data mining methodology to identify the patent filing trends, regionally and globally. The pattern or trend in patent filling enables marketing, competitive intelligence, commercial strategy, and human resource teams to gain an early insight to what technologies the competitors have in pipe line. It also helps to identify whether the technology under study is at its infancy, mature or declining phase and which helps in taking commercial decisions.
PLR helps intellectual asset management by enabling the legal counsels to understand the relationship between competitive products and patent protection. They are used to prevent any conflict between any of the published patent applications and avoid any patent claim opportunities beforehand as that increases the credibility of the patent and also saves a lot of time during the process of registration. Thus, it helps the company to identify any potential patent infringement claims and to possibly avoid the same.
Patent Landscape analysis is also beneficial to conduct ‘White Space analysis’ which basically means to analyse various patents in the subject matter which have not been maintained or exploited or the patents which are likely to expire before our inventions to understand how crowded or open the technology is currently.
Steps involved in Patent Landscape Analysis:
As discussed above Patent Landscape Analysis is a multi-step process and all these steps need to be carried out by a team with leaders expert in various fields like Research and development, legal aspect, competitive intelligence and experts in the said technology in order to prepare a detailed report and acquire desired results.
The basic steps required to be followed for a Patent Landscape analysis are as follows:
Establish the purpose of the patent landscape analysis. A company might have a variety of reasons in order to perform patent landscape analysis which includes a White space analysis, competitive intelligence, patentability of the said technology, the future trend of the said technology, estimated market value of the technology, new idea generations, freedom to operate search, patent filing strategy, patent licensing strategy, monetization strategy of the patent etc…, these are some of the purposes for which a company might carry patent landscape analysis.
A patent landscape analysis can be carried out for one or more reasons as per the requirement of the company which must be settled before the initiation of the project.A patent landscape analysis is a long and detailed process shall require outsourcing of human resources and third-party software, thus a company must hire and purchase necessary software along with allocating a budget for the process.
The boundaries for a patent landscape search should be determined beforehand and the analysis should be confined to the agreed technological area of focus, such area of focus shall be suggestions of alternatives, various applications of the technology, product terms etc…, thus the technological outcome of the process must be pre-decided to give a proper direction to the analysis.
In the legal analytics of the patent, the company must be firm on the countries where the technology is planned to be exploited, the class of patents which are to be considered while conducting patentability search, the minimum requirement of equivalence in the patents, the filing period of the patents etc… to confine the research in a productive angle and use the resources effectively.
The team must conduct a preliminary search of the availability of such technology in any patent and such prior art search must be conducted thoroughly as it may affect the freedom to operate the technology. This process shall be carried out by expert personnel in the legal and technological field who may coordinate to determine the relevant set of key terms, patent classes etc… to conduct a thorough prior art search.
To prepare an initial set of documents which shall be relevant to the technology in order to identify the scope of exploitation of the technology and shall suggest certain addition or alteration make the technology more viable in terms of marketability.
Use keyword, patent class code, citation mapping and/or semantic search strategies to prepare a basic outline of the application. Identify lists of patents that are relevant to each technology, product and/or application sub-area and compare it to our patent in terms of conflict, defences, innovation etc.
Review and sort the patents within each relevant technology, product and/or application sub-category. This can be done through automated means through software which might speed up the process using keyword and international class code searching. Such a search can be carried out manually also resulting in higher accuracy and due diligence but might consume more time. It can be done by reviewing Titles, Abstracts and/or Claims. Manual review offers the additional benefit of being able to add meta-data, comments and/or value rankings to each result. This will result in a more robust and valuable output.
These are certain basic steps that are mandatory to be followed to prepare a detailed patent landscape report along with a certain exclusive process that may differ as per the requirements of the company.
Scientific Analysis of a Patent Landscape Analysis:
After the information is organized into relevant categories of reports, the data must be analysed in a manner to arrive at a fruitful conclusion for its application. The Ideal ways to interpret and apply the reports from the Patent Landscape report has been covered below.
Patent filing velocity charts shall be used to enable the visualization of the amount of change in activity in each technology, product, or application area over a defined period of time. This helps the company to estimate the technological advancements in a particular field of area and the desirable launch of their technology in the market. This research is generally combined with marketing research to estimate the saleability of the technology. For example, the company X using Patent filing velocity charts shall calculate the technological advancements in the field of smartphone and the desirability and possibility of adaption of their technology in the near future.
The top assignee table gives a roadmap to various competitors in the particular field of technology including old MNC, research institutes or budding startups which are working on similar technological patterns and are likely to invent certain technologies in upcoming years by themselves. This provides a plan as to their potential partners, customers, licensees and other parties which might be interested in the latest technology being developed and such information can be derived from their latest patent applications. For eg the mobile companies which might be willing to license this technology giving them an estimation of licensing fee which they can derive through this invention.
The above techniques can be combined to visualize which companies and competitors are spending their resources in similar technologies and the amount of investment and interest shown by various companies in recent years compared to their past spending. This can further lead to comparing the R&D spending in a variety of technology areas compared to other competitors R&D spending in the same and/or other technology, product, or application areas.
By compiling recent patent claims against the patent filed in similar technologies, the company can be prepared to defend their validity of the patent as per the requirements of each technology, country and product. This provides a detailed Freedom to Operate search analysis also and prepares the company for possible opposition claims thus leading to a detailed legal analysis of the patentability of the software. In our case, if there has been a certain claim regarding the inventions related to batteries against previous patents, the company can try to rectify those shortcomings beforehand in order to speed the process of patenting.
High-level patent landscape maps or visualizations 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.
Thus it can be noted that the process of Patent landscape analysis requires large resources and needs to be monitored throughout the process of the invention to keep track of estimation, hence is a continuous costly process that can be and profitably be carried out only for certain inventions which yield capabilities of high returns as in our case it can be noticed that the impugned technology could be employed by various smartphone companies affording them multiple licensing and partnership opportunities, the invention is likely to be a success as is a productive enhancement over existing technology. In such case, if the company has requisite resources they may profitably employ Patent landscape analysis to expand their business and target customers in an efficient manner, however, the same shall not be the case with an invention that does not exude high potential or has limited scope. There are various other patent examination which can be carried out as per the invention and the company has to decide the same to make the process profitable.
As discussed above the patent landscape analysis is a multistep process and requires various expertise and technologies to arrive at the desired end results, some of the common tools used to formulate Patent Landscape Analysis are as follows:
1. Free databases: Google Patents, The Patent Lens, and official Government Websites
2. Commercial databases: Clarivate Analytics, PatBase, Patseer, CPA Global, Lexis Nexis and alike.
We provide customized our reports as per the client’s requirement. Reports may be in MS Excel format or Ms word format with compiled and organized data in tables, charts, and graphs.
We aim at delivering your search results in a customized format ranging from a full report to a comparative feature matrix, verbal report, or any other delivery mechanism as requested by the client.
Turnaround- 4-10 days depending on patents to be analyzed.
Contact us to get in touch with our experts for professional advice.