EVERY GENERAL NEEDS A BATTLE PLAN…

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MattVeale – Wynne Jones

Innovative companies of all sizes are utilising big patent data to drive the development of new innovations

All companies developing innovative products, technologies and services need an in-depth picture of their market, competitors, opportunities and risks in order to be successful.

Patent analytics can assist the acquisition of this information by combining the use of big patent data, available from a number of international patent databases, plus an array of specialist software tools to identify trends and patterns that can guide budget spend and commercial decision making in a very efficient and cost-effective way.

Patent data was first digitised in the 1980s and there have also been commensurate improvements in the quality of analysis software in the years since then, leading to the increasingly sophisticated interpretation of big patent data, at reduced cost, for commercial use. Thus patent analytics is big business and growing; research carried out on the commercial effects clearly showed that that companies that use patent analytics outperform their competitors because they achieve higher profitability and obtain higher financial and strategic benefit from their patents. Furthermore, with the development of new patent analytical techniques based on artificial intelligence (AI) it is highly likely that significant advances will be made in the accessibility, quality and accuracy of analytical insights.

Patent search specialist Matthew Veale, team leader of Wynne-Jones IP’s Patent Analytics Service believes patent analytics can be useful to a company in a variety of ways.

“Companies of all sizes can avoid the pitfall of investing in technology that is already patented by other companies”

Matthew adds “whilst this is important for all companies it is of particular relevance to small companies/start-ups because they typically tend to have smaller budgets for intellectual property investment so every pound must be even more carefully spent. Companies can also use patent analytics to identify gaps in patent protection in a profitable technical field; this can guide their R&D strategy, resulting in inventions that can be focussed towards filling these gaps without infringement on another company’s patent(s). Many companies use patent analytics to get a reassuring check before a product or service launch that the technology is novel and inventive, reducing the risk of costly infringement action from other companies. “

There are also many other uses of patent analytical data. For example, it can be used to inform merger and acquisition activity and licensing deals. It can identify trends in technology development and lead to stronger patent portfolios. WynneJones IP’s clients use the data generated by the Patent Analytics Service in several different ways.

“We are increasingly receiving feedback from companies that specialist patent analytics companies routinely lack the understanding of the client’s general business strategy and the environment in which the company is trading.“

Matthew comments, “One of our clients in the life sciences sector used landscape mapping to establish the state of a technology area before beginning research and development. It helped them identify potential solutions to a given technical problem as well as identifying later patents that adopted a concept already patented by the client – all priceless intelligence. Another client, a small start-up, uses patent searching as a way to identify whether there will be freedom to develop a technology area before committing time and money developing something.”

PATENT ANALYTICS

There are many specialist patent analytics firms in existence, often employing large numbers of PhD qualified employees to perform the services. Often this can seem the most attractive and effective way for companies to obtain services but there are pitfalls. The insights generated by patent analytics companies can be acquired with scant knowledge of the client’s general business goals, trading environment and regulatory constraints of the sectors in which they are operating. “We are increasingly receiving feedback from companies that specialist patent analytics companies routinely lack the understanding of the client’s general business strategy and the environment in which the company is trading,”

This can lead to insights and recommendations that either make little sense or need considerable work-up before they can be utilised in a business management context. This is very frustrating for clients; they have already committed significant expense to having the analysis carried out only to find that it is not as meaningful as it could be. When we set up our patent analytics service in 2018 we were clear that we wanted it to be staffed by a dedicated team of IP attorneys and IP paralegals with specialist search skills. These are personnel who work with the clients every day and knowthem, who collectively have an in depth understanding of the client’s business plans and technology enabling them to provide tailored advice, contextualised for the client’s business environment.

Patent analytics is suitable for all inventing companies of any size and it may be money well spent to avoid costly investment mistakes later. Patent analytics may give you invaluable information about your competitors and the technology trends in your industry that would be more difficult to obtain via other methods.

If you want to chat to a patent attorney search specialist about using patent analytics to benefit your business, please contact Matt Veale on matthew.veale@wynne-jones.com

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