19 Dec 2013

Patent Landscaping Analysis: What are the Key Steps?

To those of us who are neither patent strategists nor analysts, the term patent landscaping can be confusing. To put it simply, patent landscaping is a complete and thorough process of analyzing gathered data related to a specific technology domain.

If done properly, patent landscaping can provide competitive intelligence regarding future business insights and IP information which are helpful in increasing your profits and besting your competitors. Needless to say, patent landscaping is a proactive business strategy.

There are several ways (consult your patent landscape provider) in which analysis can be conducted. Whatever the method you choose to use, it will involve working with a large amount of data, which will require you to clearly establish your objective(s).


Below are principal steps that highlight some of the key elements of a basic patent landscaping analysis.

  1. Determine your purpose.

    It’s important to know what your business needs are before proceeding. Like all analytic method, patent landscaping requires a large amount of data that will support your goals.Establishing the needs of your business can be done through a simple needs assessment or by any other methods (i.e. benchmarking and SWOT analysis) that can clearly identify your company’s demands.For instance, if your interests lie in finding out your technological standing in the industry you’re in, patent landscaping analysis can provide you with not only answers but also an insight of your company’s opportunities as well as the external threats you’re unknowingly facing in the market.

    Note: It’s highly advised that you don’t concentrate on the technology trends known inside your industry. There are instances when technology shifts come from outside your trade. It also goes without saying that you should not only focus on known competitors but also keep a lookout on emerging players.

  2. Choose the appropriate tools. Once set on your business goals, it’s now time to identify the suitable sources for your information. Databases such as Google Patents and USPTO provide comprehensive results.While many are most likely to drop a patent analysis after the initial process is completed, serious project managers choose to take full advantage of the outcome and continue to improve the project.If you want to head in the same direction, it’s only wise to build your company its own patent database. Having one would allow you to modify patent attributes for more effective searches and analysis to suit the needs of your business in the long run.

    Certain software such as Derwent and Delphion can assist your patent analyst. Licenses to these programs are rather expensive, but they can save your analyst a great deal of time in collecting and manipulating the data.

    Make sure to look out for emerging databases and commercial software. Naturally, their search features are more updated and improved than the previous versions.

  3. Gather your data. Collecting the data is possibly the most time-consuming task when conducting a patent landscaping analysis. Certainly, a single search wouldn’t supply you with all the information you need, therefore a series of patent searches will be needed.Be sure to check the manual of your chosen software and database to manage your search the best possible way. They will most likely include optimization features and it’s highly recommended that you use that to your advantage.
  4. Analyse your data. Evaluating the extracted information would be more efficient if you can clearly interpret them.

As mentioned earlier, a single search won’t be enough to gather all the data needed. You will have to conduct follow-up searches and collect more data as you encounter gaps in the results. Arranging the data through proper data representation tools such as charts and graphs can help you properly visualize and analyse the information collected.

Based on the patent landscape analysis results, you can now determine effective strategies to meet the needs of your business.