Let’s Make Patent Landscapes Great Again!
Patent landscapes have been in the IP industry since time immemorial and have been majorly used to track the number of patent filings, the number of competitors, the number of collaborations and so on. But, there is much more to these landscapes than counting numbers.
Often these days, business promoters are not worried much by how many competitors they will have to face, but, yes, by what these competitors could be doing twenty-four hours a day to take someone aback. Interestingly, the same patent data can be used to identify these unusual concentrations on which your key competitors or emerging players could be relying to build their future.
Prevalent Patent Landscapes Lack Critical Details
The majority of patent analysts stress on the age old simple way of finding these concentrations by sharing a layout. The layout shares the technological developments comprising components and the recent technologies developed in that area. How can these representations help you find out what your competitors are actually trying to do?
We are sure that a large part of the industry would agree that prevalent patent landscapes are unable to give right answers at the first place, maybe not even in the second time. Multiple dissections of data may give you few hints which can help you take your business forward.
Still, you may not get a precise idea about various critical areas that pose challenges in technology advancement and market needs/demands driving the growth of a domain.
For example, if we talk about “3D Printing” Industry, specifically the metal powders to be used in 3D Printing since a metal powder as their usage is spreading widely because it plays a critical role in conferring good properties to the end product. If you just get to know –
- How many patents have been filed?
- Where are most patents being filed?
- Who are your top competitors?
- Who is trying to enter this area?
- Where is the potential market? And so on.
Unfortunately, answers to only these questions are not going to take your business forward. What can, however, help you in the pursuit is answers to important questions like –
- What is hindering the business development in the 3D Printing Industry material selection?
- Where should we research for high returns?
- Which problems if solved will lead to high commercial benefits? Etc.
What Kind Of Insights Make Patent Landscapes Interesting
Let’s take this a step further. If someone shares Stratasys filed 15 patents in 2014, and it acquired another company (ABC) from the same domain, how much impact will this insight have on your business? The answer we anticipate for this is, “Not much”.
What if someone shares, “To reduce the problem of agglomeration and sphericity in the metal powders, Stratasys has come up with a breakthrough solution (described in USXXX, and others), which targets the oxidation problem.”
Also, the effect of the merger could strengthen Stratasys’ business, as ABC’s portfolio will help tackle the problem of energy consumption in extraction and spherodization. This is the moment which makes you realized that reduction in high energy consumption can save you thousands of dollars by tweaking around the existing solutions or inventing an alternative. This is the type of information which will actually make that patent landscape a worthy trip.
Thus, to create a big impact on business development, it is imperative to know the problems which are crippling the industry and the solutions which are being developed. This problem-solution approach of conducting a patent landscape can highly fortify the decision capabilities.
Knowing where to file a patent based on industry and consumers’ needs is the key to avoiding a monetary loss which results due to a undirected worthless patent filing. Targeting the correct pain area in a sector can surely assist in reinforcing revenue stream.
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A 250 Words Brief Guide To Make Your Next Patent Landscapes Spot On
To address this major concern, you have to revamp Taxonomy which is the most crucial part of a landscape.
You have to understand that industry does not require traditional component/process based taxonomy in every situation. Hence, what is required is a taxonomy related to business challenges which focus on value chain and branches into various problems and their solutions. Such a taxonomy focuses on different parts of the value chain and their corresponding challenges. Further, for every challenge, it has to indicate the problems being solved and the type of solutions that has been adopted.
As can be seen, the domains are well segregated on the basis of their value in the business. Further, the challenges for the domains (‘manufacturing high-quality metal powders’ in the above example) are mentioned for a quick action.
Let’s see what are the problems related to “3D Printing – Metal Powder Manufacturing” –
Once you have identified the problems, highlight the corresponding solutions to help consumer of the landscape to identify some actionable measures. For example, solutions corresponding to ‘Powder Oxidation’ are exemplified as follows –
Not only this kind of taxonomy help you provide actionable insights to your client but it also bridges the gap between his business team and R&D team by sharing a relation between business level challenges and research related problems.
Thus, executives can use these insights to get a clear direction for business related decisions, competition, industry future, and challenges. An R&D team, on the other hand, can use these insights to understand the breakthroughs, alternate solutions/technologies, and the most important technology problems being solved in the industry.
Authored By: Arindam Som, Manager, Search and Analytics Team and Deepika Kaushal, Team Lead, Patent Landscape