How Patent Landscape Analysis Can Help You Enhance Your R&D Strategy

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Patent landscape analysis is a multi-step process to review, organize, and extract value from extensive patent search results in a specific technology area. A patent landscape consists of a set of references and related analytics from which important technical, legal, and business information can be extracted. 

Companies and investors recognize the importance of intellectual property, especially patents, which provide opportunities to differentiate products and generate revenue. 

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An important challenge for investment decision-makers is to anticipate and understand the impact of rapid technological advances on the value of their products and services. Therefore, it is very important for a researcher or developer to be sure of the direction they are going before investing time and money in a technology / product. Landscape analysis has a lot to offer. Especially for the R&D community. 

The technology report provides a snapshot of current research in a specific technology field and is designed to help companies decide how to budget and invest in research and development. Patent landscaping is a critical process for corporations to derive these values.  

Landscape analysis is useful for organizations to create new technologies, to design around the technologies of others, to identify licensing and merger and acquisition objectives, to optimize internal research and development processes, and to develop comprehensive and informed IP strategies. 

Scoping future R&D strategies

Patented landscape architectures can build on existing areas of technology, rather than looking for only latest technology for innovative solutions. Landscape analysis helps to explain the gaps in technology areas and gives information about future research and development tactics. 

The patent landscape conducted in early phases of R&D provides an added advantage. By providing early patent status services and existing solutions, you can make strategic decisions about product development. The results can represent a perspective of free space. Researchers can find out about the current situation in the field. This analysis can give you ideas on to build or improve their existing designs. 

Whitespace

The technical areas available for analysis may be highlighted in which technical disclosures have been made. Densely populated areas are less likely to encourage broad patent rights, and the identification of whitespaces in the targeted technology areas guides research and development team to put focus their efforts in those technology areas which are more likely to yield pioneer patents. 

Filing and Investment Trends

The patent filing trend obtained from the landscape analysis graphs allows you to visualize the amount of change in activity in each technology, product, or application area over time. This is useful to understand how much growth has occurred in an area and to predict when activity might start to decrease. This can be particularly useful in conjunction with market research including related product sales data. 

Top participant graphs provide insight into major companies, startups, universities, and others that are most focused on specific technologies, products, or applications. This is useful for identifying potential partners, customers, licensees, acquisition candidates or organizations that may use your technology as evidenced by the information disclosed in their patents (i.e. those who discuss the technology in their patent applications for which you own the underlying patent right). 

These graphs can be combined to visualize which players are spending money (via patent applications), in which categories recently, and which companies may have slowed investment in the technology area. This may further lead to a comparison of R&D spending (through patent filing activity) in different technology areas against other competitors’ R&D spending in the same and/or different technology, product or application area. 

Competitor Analysis

Landscape analysis provides a wider perspective of where other players in an industry or sector are focusing. For example, you may find that there is increased activity in an emerging technology area that’s related to the market you operate in, but it was not on your radar.  

Landscape analysis is useful for understanding what your competitors are doing and it helps you predict their next possible moves and plan your strategic manoeuvres accordingly. 

Landscape analysis also provides insights into competitor activity that enables the enterprise to quickly make business decisions such as: 

  • How to conduct R&D, product development, and patent filing strategies  
  • Should a pre-, inter- or post-participation challenge be filed  
  • To pursue licensing negotiations, start a design around a project or initiate a dispute. 

New Ideas for Products/Services

Many a time, the R&D personnel limit their focus to their own operating technology domain, and they have no idea here how other technologies developed in similar or different applications. Landscape analysis could provide ideas for patenting new features for a product / brand. Further, landscape analysis helps to identify new technology segments and thus get ideas to create a new product line. 

Reduce Gaps

Landscape analysis provides information about competitor’s strategy and helps to predict their competitor’s future moves. A company may miss the fact that a competitor may have switched to another superior technology.  

In particular, knowing that competitors are looking for alternative technologies for a particular problem can help you determine if the solution they are studying has an advantage. Based on this, you can decide whether to use your own technology or an alternative technology.  

It is important that researchers keep an eye on their competitor’s moves, predict their futuristic additions so that their own research strategy could be developed accordingly and the gap between what you offer and what the market expects can be reduced. 

Conclusion 

It is vital that researchers keep an eye on what is happening in their specific technology. The direction of a company’s R&D is critical to its future success. As a result, before investing time and money on a technology or product, researchers or developers must be certain of the direction they want to pursue.  

Patent landscape analysis provides useful information and insights about the above discussed fields. All these fields collectively are useful in determining the areas where R&D efforts can be directed. 

 

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