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Minesoft offers a range of products that enable companies to better understand the patent landscape in which they operate, as Rahman Hyatt and Olivier Huc report.
It is no secret that patent data yields a rich and essential source of competitive intelligence. A significant volume (estimates range from 70 to 80%) of technical and scientific information is made available only through patent publications.
As awareness and appreciation of the value of patent data as a source of commercial insight grows, a wide range of patent analysis and landscaping tools are becoming available to help companies better understand the patent landscape in which they operate.
Professional patent databases, such as PatBase (co-developed by Minesoft and RWS Group), enable searchers to hone a set of search results using keywords, patent classifications, patent citations and assignees. Integrated machine translations and cross-lingual information retrieval tools assist searchers in broadening the search scope using multilingual synonyms and help them to understand patent applications that may not be published in their native language.
Patent analysis and landscaping tools are becoming available to help companies better understand the patent landscape in which they operate.
To visualise this data, businesses can use analysis tools to gain a comprehensive strategic overview of their own and their competitors’ patent portfolios to better understand current and future opportunities and threats. Effective use of analytics software can produce an accurate description of key players in the marketplace; provide early warning on competitor strategies and general commercial activities; and identify ‘white space’ opportunities in a crowded technology field.
In autumn 2017, Minesoft will launch a new version of PatBase Analytics, providing PatBase and PatBase Express users with a bird’s-eye view of market trends and key competitors, as well as identification of potential business partners and licensing opportunities. Users will also be able to create visually appealing reports (for example, the new 3D landscape) to communicate the results clearly for decision-makers in a boardroom environment.
As part of a competitive intelligence and IP management strategy, organisations should be systematically monitoring newly published patent information. Current awareness alerts based on patent search queries are included in a PatBase subscription to notify recipients of any new patent activity, for example, new patents filed in a certain area (based on classification codes), or new applications from an assignee or inventor of interest.
Larger corporations have begun to invest in tailored patent knowledge management solutions, such as Pat-KM (formerly PatentArchive), that allow them to create a workflow. These combine current awareness alerts with an internal classification system to create a permanent repository of relevant patent information to be searched and analysed. In addition, customised, searchable fields can be created which are relevant to the client’s business, with the capability to tag patent families of interest.
Pat-KM harnesses key patent knowledge in an organisation, allowing information to be disseminated effectively throughout. Users can overcome the challenges of patent knowledge management with the creation of a secure database to track relevant patent applications, stored and tagged with their internal insights. Pat-KM allows key personnel to review highly targeted, pertinent documents and make better, faster, patent-related decisions.
Monitoring legal status
Services are available—often offered by patent attorneys and IP consulting firms—to automatically track individual patents or specific elements of patent information such as legal status events or citation information. Automating the process saves time and money, eliminating the need to navigate around different websites to carry out weekly manual checks.
Competitor patent portfolios can be monitored at a micro level: Minesoft’s Legal StatusTracker tracks changes published weekly, incorporating INPADOC, EPO DOCDB, USPTO PAIR and JPO data. Users receive automatic alerts to specified legal status changes for their own or competitor portfolios, such as opposition filings, applications being withdrawn or grants in certain countries.
Legal StatusTracker is an effective new tool for competitive intelligence, allowing companies to carry out targeted monitoring of risks and opportunities as applications progress through various national offices.
Due to the volume and complexity of patent citations, it can be difficult to efficiently navigate and explore the data they provide. Despite these challenges, there are benefits to the use of citations for patent analysis and competitive/business intelligence.
A patent citation is a document cited by a third party or a patent office examiner because its content relates to a patent application. There are two types:
Backward citations are publicly available documents which are published before the filing date of the new patent application. These are useful to discover closely related patents and literature and can supplement or enhance an initial keyword or classification-based search.
Forward citations are more recently published documents which have gone on to cite the new patent application. Forward citations are useful from a competitive or business intelligence perspective to identify players working in a similar area/technology to the new patent application. By monitoring the forward citations of a new patent application, a user can identify new competitors entering a similar field of technology, potential infringers and, possibly, potential licensing opportunities.
Minesoft has developed an automated tracking service, CiteTracker. You can monitor who is citing your patent portfolio and your competitors’ portfolios, and which technologies are being cited most frequently. CiteTracker has a built-in analytics functionality to enable users to visualise the number of citations over time and the top assignees.
Rahman Hyatt is a director at Minesoft and has over 15 years’ experience in the information industry. He plays an active role in business and product development and leads specific development projects for corporate clients in addition to overseeing the sales and client services teams, combining his expertise in technology and patents. He can be contacted at: email@example.com
Olivier Huc is a senior business development manager at Minesoft. He has been working in the IP field since 2002. Initially working with Questel in the US, Huc then co-founded Tempus IP with Minesoft in 2008. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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