With so many opportunities for R&D and patenting, how do research teams and IP managers determine viable opportunities? Through the use of patent landscaping, teams can focus their R&D efforts and identify industry trends that can help steer their internal efforts.
Patent landscaping is a critical process for IP managers that enables a better understanding of a particular technology area. Landscaping allows IP managers to decide on asset protection best practices, cost management procedures, and gain a deep understanding of the potential market fit of a patent. In order to be successful, a systematic approach to patent landscaping is needed as this allows for effective IP prosecution by remaining consistent and having a strong grasp of the technology area.
This process helps IP managers and attorneys assess the viability of innovation plans by analyzing trends within a technology space, with the analysis being crucial to guiding R&D teams through the evaluation process. Furthermore, intensive assessment of a patent landscape helps identify principal patent holders in the space, identify whether serious competitive pressures exist, and whether the technology area is moving into active commercialization. Using this information, IP managers can identify areas of research where there is little threat of competition and better allocate resources within their research efforts.
Landscapes are invaluable for organizations, as they can also identify whether competitors are encroaching on their core market. This knowledge of a patent area can help organizations defend their IP rights or more aggressively pursue research in areas of interest to its competitors. While a patent landscape cannot tell you what areas to conduct research in or what barriers to successful patent prosecution exist, it is valuable in identifying metrics and patterns that can steer IP decisions.
Although the process of creating a patent landscape frequently requires a significant investment in resources, this can be decreased through the use of effective search tools. Rather than simply searching for patents, IP managers can get a head start on the process by analyzing 'pre-patent' works such as research publications and grants, as this can give earlier insight into where markets are moving.
Looking for patent landscaping tools? Learn more about Wellspring for Intellectual Property Management