The potential to compete in the market is critical to the survival of any company, and many use patents to gain an advantage. To ensure their longevity and prosperity, intelligent companies not only concentrate on their own patent filings but also monitor their competitors’ filings. The top 3 reasons why all businesses should be aware of their competitors’ patent activities are listed below.
1. Analyze current investments and future patent rights using competitors’ patent filings.
A patent applicant’s investment in obtaining patent protection is undeniably significant. Because the patent process is time-and money-consuming, companies rarely take their patent filings lightly. After all, the ultimate goal of pursuing a patent is to obtain patent rights that provide a competitive advantage sufficient to justify an applicant’s investment. Because patent application filings are often long-term investments, monitoring competitors’ patent filings can be an excellent way to spot technologies that the competitor believes will soon provide a commercial advantage.
In other words, monitoring what a competitor is attempting to protect provides insight into the competitor’s intended business strategy. Companies that monitor their competitors’ patent filings can gain a better understanding of the competition’s direction. Further, they can prepare for any patent rights that their competitors may eventually be granted.
2. Use the filings of competitors to identify potential patent conflicts.
Tracking competitors’ patent filings gives a company the ability to act in its own best interests. If a competitor has filed a patent application for an invention that fails to meet patentability requirements, an informed company can file a third-party pre-issuance submission to challenge the pending patent application. If a competitor is likely to be granted material patent rights, an informed company can make sure that none of its activities infringe on those patent rights. It may even be possible for a business to “design around” their competitor’s soon-to-be-granted patent rights. Consequently, they can achieve the same results without the risk of a lawsuit.
3. Use competitor filings to improve commercial growth strategy.
Understanding where competitors are going is a great way for businesses to avoid falling behind. If the competition is heavily investing in patent protection in a particular technological field, a company may respond by making an investment in the development of similar, yet non-infringing, technologies that will enhance their ability to compete in direct competition. Tracking the patent filing strategies of many competitors, on the other hand, may reveal “whitespace”. Whitespaces are areas where competitors lack patent protection. By innovating in this domain, a business can obtain patent protection and gain a competitive advantage.
Continuously monitoring competitors’ patent filings is beneficial in a variety of ways. Modern patent prosecution tools, such as XLSCOUT‘s AI-based patent analytics platform, make it simple to keep track of competitors. They aid by sending automated notifications when new patent applications are filed. Companies that use XLSCOUT’s Techscaper are better able to navigate the commercial landscape and develop their patent strategies.