Maximize Your Intellectual Property with a Patent Landscape
By Jeffrey Magee, BSME, MBA, Nerac Analyst – Innovation IP Management
Originally Published November 2, 2021
“Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.”
-Charles Lindbergh (first solo transatlantic flight)
Patent Landscapes: They Key to Success
Clients trying to understand how their business is evolving can benefit from taking a step back to look at the current state of intellectual property. A patent landscape analysis helps Nerac clients quickly assess their position within a technology area in terms of their business objectives. The insights can help support critical decisions on new product introduction, go-to-market strategy and market positioning, structural cost adjustments, and more.
A patent landscape provides a visual representation of a large patent collection. It has applicability throughout the research, development, and commercialization process. For instance, clients may be looking to discover uncharted technology – known as white space. For these types of requests, Nerac evaluates a large breadth of patents to help identify possible gaps in a given technology area. Clients find this analysis helps support new product go/ no-go decisions, identifying adjacent markets, technology niches, and so on. A more focused assessment is provided for clients exploring licensing opportunities, spotting technology trends and disruptions, etc. In summary, a patent landscape is used at many steps along the process.
Some of the typical goals of a patent landscape report include:
- Identify assignees in an area of technology
- What is the competitive landscape?
- Who are the major players?
- Are there any new players or start-ups?
- Identify potential merger or acquisition targets
- See how technology trends have changed over time
- Which areas of technology are up and coming?
- Which have peaked and are on the decrease?
- Do technology trends differ geographically?
- Assess adjacent markets
- Identify complimentary technology spaces
- Are there gaps suitable for your technology?
- Identify promising areas of technology
- What white space opportunities exist?
- Are there any novel technology solutions?
- Competitive insight
- What areas of technology are your competitors researching?
- Identify possible future product offerings of your competitors
- Identify leading researchers
- Who are the key inventors?
- Find potential hiring targets
- Licensing opportunities
- Identify key patents for in-licensing
- Identify key companies as out-licensing targets
“By visualizing information, we turn it into a landscape that you can explore with your eyes: a sort of information map.
And when you’re lost in information, an information map is kind of useful.”
-David McCandless (British data journalist)
There are a number of reasons to have Nerac on your side when preparing a patent landscape report. Nerac had its origin, and continues today, in hiring highly skilled scientists and engineers with advanced degrees trained in the ability to search and analyze using premier search platforms and analysis software. The patent landscape reports we generate are highly customized to reflect the detailed information requirements of our clients.
Producing a patent landscape report requires access to high-quality patent information sources. Nerac has access to a number of the leading patent databases in the world. Questel Orbit covers patent-issuing authorities around the world. Nerac also has access to Chemical Abstracts/STN. These can be used to generate very detailed lists of patents associated with chemistry, materials, or biomedical areas of technology.
In addition, Nerac has access to Questel Orbit’s platinum-level analysis and graphics capabilities. The analysis modules fall into four major categories, most of which can be used to generate useful information to include in a patent landscape report:
- Innovation Modules
- Technology Scouting
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Risk Assessment
- Business Case Assessment
- Legal Risk Assessment
- Portfolio Management
- Ability to Exclude
- Portfolio Pruning
- Licensable Art
- Licensing Out
Note: Licensing and joint venture research can be supplemented with a legal-landscape assessment to help you evaluate options. Click here to learn more.
Examples of the types of information available to be graphically represented in a patent landscape report include:
- Top technology players
- Technology investment trends
- R&D locations
- Most cited players
- Technology position by players
- Technology segmentation
- Key technology concepts
- Technology trends over time
- Most prolific inventors
- Key cited inventors
- Island landscape by technology clusters
Most of these can be represented by bar graphs, pie charts, word clouds, etc. Some examples are provided below.