In Part 1 of Patent Landscape Analysis — An Overview, we describe what a patent landscape is, and why it’s so critical to all competitive innovation work. i.e., reduce redundant search, accelerate time to commercialization and protect teams from defensive litigation. Now we plan to share with you the five steps involved in conducting a patent landscape analysis.
This is intended to provide a very high-level view of our process. For a much more in-depth look at how to perform a Patent Landscape Analysis, please view our latest white paper here.
Patent Landscape Analysis – What is it?
Patent landscape analysis, is a proven multi-step process, employing computer software and human intelligence to review, organize, and extract value from extensive patent search results in a specific technology area. A completed patent landscape analysis project consists of a set of references and accompanying analytics from which important technical, legal, and business information can be extracted.
The key benefits include:
- Reducing costs (R&D – time to commercialization, defensive patent litigation, eliminating redundant research)
- Increasing revenue (offensive litigation/licensing)
Patent Landscape Analysis — The Process:
There are five key steps in the process combined with a variety of decisions that are made based on the purpose of the study and the preferred outcome.
- Search, review, and refine the subject matter
- Data cleanup and normalization
- Review data, create categories and populate
- Create charts/tables and visualizations
- Ongoing monitoring and analysis
1. Search, review, and refine the subject matter
Stakeholders search patents, technical literature and other market related information, review and refine the landscape to limit the study to the relevant results. This process of search, review, and refinement continues until a landscape targeted to the relevant subject matter is achieved. All of the remaining steps of the analysis are dependent on the quality and accuracy of the results found in the search.
2. Data cleanup and normalization
It’s not uncommon for searches to return thousands of potentially relevant patents and patent applications. These results need to be refined based on the technical criteria relevant to the search, and further cleaned up to generate a more accurate output. Normalization provides a means for accurately understanding which organizations are working in a specific field, which inventors work for each organization, how large or small each organization’s portfolio is relative to others in the area, and which organizations are working together.
3. Create categories and populate
The next step in the patent landscaping process involves a thorough review of the information by technical and patent experts on the Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) team to classify the results into more manageable and useful categories. The experts must create the category schema as well as populate the categories with relevant patents. Due to the overlapping nature of some categories, it is likely that patents will fall into multiple buckets. The patent categorization step is iterative by nature and results in a valuable hierarchy that supports actionable insights to analyze the data from multiple points of view.
4. Create charts/tables and visualizations
Assuming the search produced a relevant document set and the documents have been thoughtfully categorized, there are a number of different types of charts and visualizations that can be produced. These “graphics” are valuable as an accompaniment to a written or oral presentation and help to portray the “story” of the patent landscape to management. Multi-factorial charts and visualizations should also be presented for maximum impact.
5. Ongoing monitoring and analysis
Completing the initial landscape analysis is a time intensive process. Once the initial patent landscape analysis has been completed, keeping the landscape up to date requires limited maintenance while offering significant benefits. At this point, a member of the IAM team can quickly review the new results, categorize them based on the category schema created in the initial analysis (or create new categories if necessary), and add custom comments or meta-data based on the type of data captured in the initial landscape analysis. In addition, charts, graphs, and visualizations can be updated on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Why is the patent landscape process so important? Patent information provides a goldmine of information available to everyone on the internet, including your competition. Patent landscape analysis provides a map for navigating the competitive landscape, and is essential in establishing strong innovation identification, capture, and management programs at any enterprise.
Implementing our 5-step process for executing a patent landscape analysis, outlined in the pages above, results in actionable conclusions for the enterprise to make more well-informed and strategic IP, R&D and business decisions.
For a much deeper dive into each step of the process, view our white paper Patent Landscape Analysis Part 2 – How to perform a patent landscape analysis in 5 easy steps.