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Patent mapping is a method of visualizing patent data graphically.

The purpose of modelling patent data graphically, is to assist companies to identify the existing patents that are especially relevant to the field of technology that they are particularly involved in and further want to invest and innovate.

Mapping helps to identify infringement (if any) and also helps in identifying the relationship between the existing patents and technology gap. Pat-informatics is the key term involved during Patent Mapping. It is an overarching subject as it involves the incorporation of information portrayal about patents. Patent Mapping is also defined as a process that highlights the possible links existing between old technologies and new patentable ideas. It is quite necessary before any investment is made on a potential developing technology to assess the recent trends in order to avoid patent infringement.


Target industries where Patent Mapping is used are as follows :-

  • Patent Analysis helps in generating novel technology.
  • It helps in monitoring competitor’s activity and tract infringements.
  • Mapping helps in identifying licensing and achieve Mergers & Acquisition targets.
  • Reduces any existing legal risks.
  • It is a common scenario that companies end up investing on existing technologies due to lack of awareness. Thus, Patent Mapping helps in avoiding investment on duplicate technologies.
  • Mapping requires the engagement of thought leaders from R&D, marketing, business development and legal arena. This further helps in optimizing the internal R&D processes involved in the development of a patent worthy technology /invention.
  • Establish a comprehensive and well-informed IP strategy


  • This process is extremely time consuming as it requires a thorough qualitative and quantitative analysis.
  • Patent Mapping involves providing complex information related to patents (complete specifications).
  • Moreover, patent applications must be presented in the form of a graph or a map; to aid the decision making process.

Other parameters

These can be technical, strategic trade analysis of existing products or countries anticipating a grant. Synthetic graphs are used to portray the results which are easy to read and comprehend.

The general overview of a Patent Map is:

  • geographic areas are identified of the key innovators in the market; this identification helps in planning the IP strategy;
  • investigation can be conducted key innovators if required.

The development and economic growth policy of our clients, as well as related IP policy, can now be based on a deep knowledge of the targeted market: application policy by country/ by technical field/ by trade secret.

Patent Mapping can be Costly to say the least as it requires constant monitoring. Keeping in mind the importance of market size, the recency of innovations and anticipating the innovator’s capacity to realise a patent worthy idea patent Mapping is done. It is interesting to note that China is now the world’s topmost IP market and it is thoroughly analysed.

Qualitative Analysis Examples

1. Matrix Map

  • The Matrix map portrays the correlation between technical elements obtained from complete specifications provided for the patent in the form of matrix.
  • It helps in identifying the important problems affecting the development of the technical aspects in a particular field.
  • Moreover, trends in problems which impact the technological development can also be observed by adding a time axis.


  • TEMPST Map expresses the technology analysis/ classification based on different points.
  • The points of analysis can be treatment (temperature, velocity, frequency etc.), Effect, Materials (Components, compound etc.), Process, products and even structure (form, embodiment, device, circuit etc.)

3. Problems versus Solutions Map

  • This type of Map presents problems of patent applications and solutions in a tabular form.

Note- The information is taken from WIPO presentation on Patent Mapping.


The accepted 5 key steps of Patent Mapping is as follows:

1. Search, and review the subject matter of the patents

  • This involves the meeting with the key stakeholders from legal, marketing, R&D department and business development team.
  • Together search for exemplary patents and available prior art or academic articles on non-patent literature.
  • Search patent information identified with advancements in the field of focus, and other industry-explicit languages to recognize applicable models.
  • Lastly to find non-patented literature databases such as Google Scholar, Pub-Med, Elsevier and Science Direct etc. can be used.
  • The review process starts with reviewing the “International Patent Class (IPC) and the Cooperative Patent Class (CPC) code hierarchies”.
  • Then the results are refined in order to eliminate any irrelevant results. This is the first step of Patent Mapping.
  • Thus, it involves looking for patents which have been filed by international competitors and also to determine the date range of search.

2. Data clean-up and normalization

  • Date Clean-up and standardization are significant undertakings for the patent examination process.
  • It’s normal for searches to return a many potentially important patent applications.
  • The results are refined based on Technical criteria in order to generate an accurate output.
  • Normalisation helps in gather information on organisations involved in the specific area of research, the established inventors who have worked extensively in the particular field of focus (of the potential patent), the organisations’ portfolios and which companies have been working together.

3. Creating Patent categories

  • In this step technical patent experts review the information furnished with regard to a patent and classify it into manageable categories.
  • Some categories can be overlapping and thus such patents fall under multiple heads.
  • “The patent categorization step is iterative by nature and results in a valuable hierarchy that supports actionable insights to analyse the data from multiple points of view”.

4. Create charts/tables for visualization of data

  • This step is to ensure that after all the search, review and refinement of the information it is presented in a legible and comprehensible manner that is easy to understand and read.
  • Thus, the information gathered is represented graphically which various factors as perspectives of the axes.
  • The visualisation can be in the form of: Heat maps, Topographic maps, Citation trees, patent matrices.

5. Ongoing monitoring post the completion of initial landscape analysis

  • Once the initial analysis is completed, the information needs to be maintained, monitored and updated according to the markets trends.
  • It is imperative that this practice is continued as it has various benefits.
  • Keeping the data at par with the recent trends is just a limited commitment.
  • It is said that around 10-30 patents are published every month which relevant to each are of technology or field of research.

Patent Mapping helps in charting a goldmine of Patent information which is already available to everyone on the internet, including the competitors. Patent landscape analysis helps in mapping or navigating the competitive landscape, market research and is essential in establishing strong innovation identification and also gives a boost to any enterprise thinking of investing in developing a patent. The various benefits as listed above shows that a constant monitoring of paten information may be time consuming but it helps in the long run and most importantly helps in avoiding the creation of duplicate technologies and patent infringement.