Exploiting patent data without breaking the bank
Monitoring your own- and third-party patent portfolios (in your industry) should under no circumstances be neglected by any company or research organisation. Although the data published by patent offices is very extensive, when using the right tools this can provide a wealth of information that can both help protect and grow your company, and its IP portfolio…
- Spot and avoid potential threats
Setting up an automatic alert around a specific search query or classification code for the technology field that you’re working in could send critical information directly to your inbox at the earliest possible moment. For example, if a new patent application is filed that relates directly to your field of activities, to know this before the patent is granted can enable an early negotiation for an exclusive licence to gain competitive advantage and/or stop your own development before too much time or money is wasted. Setting up a legal status alert to notify you when a patent expires, i.e. because an annual fee was not paid, can also be very beneficial. In addition, the identification of newly published inventions that potentially violate the intellectual property of your company allows the early initiation of appropriate legal action or licensing agreements. These are just a few examples!
- Keep an eye on the competition
Newly published patent applications from your competitors can shed light on where they are investing their money and the technical details of the inventions they are working on or would like to focus on in the near future.
Are they investing lots of money in new innovations? Are they cutting costs? Investment is best traced by actual legal expenditure, which is perfectly tracked by patent applications, family members and maintenance fees. Setting up alerts on these factors can help companies keep an eye on the competition without costing them a fortune in time or resources.
Monitoring who is citing your patent portfolio can be a useful way to assess new or emerging threats by watching out for new competitors entering your market, or existing competitors who are developing in the same area as you. This competitive monitoring gives you the time and information to come up with mitigating strategies and minimise the effect of any potential threats to your business and market share before it becomes a serious problem.
- Plan your product development
For Research and Development (R&D) purposes, patent data is also useful. Patents are not only granted for breakthrough innovations but also for new products or methods that offer advantages over existing technology. Knowing the latest developments at an early stage can provide your own R&D with new ideas along with a time lead for further developments.
However, R&D is expensive, and projects can be completely obsolete if a competitor is faster and the first to apply for a patent on an innovation. Just as the knowledge of current patent applications can indicate new directions, it can also be useful to prevent unnecessarily wasting resources on something that in the end cannot be commercially exploited by your company.
To efficiently monitor the technology area, as well as completing a thorough freedom to operate search, setting up alerts on any relevant patents, or a technology area can help R&D and legal teams to stay on top of new data coming in.
- Defining your patent strategy
In addition to the actual technical content, the monitoring of patent applications can provide a wealth of information of strategic nature: which business model will your competition be pursuing, e.g. will the focus be on innovation or cost reduction? How should businesses behave, e.g. increase or decrease R&D spending? How is your industry developing, e.g. are there new competitors, or new products that could make yours obsolete? How do the patent offices and courts of your relevant market evolve, e.g. are there any juridical changes? And last but not least: which patent strategy do you pursue, offensively (for example, generating licence revenue) or defensively (securing your freedom to operate) or a mixture of both?
The time cost of doing this manually is extreme – it can be like finding a needle in a haystack. With technological advances in the patent information industry, monitoring this data in an efficient, reliable and cost-effective way is now easier than ever. Minesoft provides many different automated alerts to cater for all your needs, whether it’s tracking legal status changes, monitoring a company or a technology area or examining new patent citations, Minesoft can transform the way you work.
If any of these are relevant to your business, we have the solution to help. Go to https://minesoft.com/request-a-demo/ for more information.