Companies are concentrating on intellectual property rights protections such as patents to develop products and earn revenue from them. However, in order to remain competitive in the market, it is necessary to look outside the box to stay updated and carry out further innovation based on a broad view, and here the importance lies in tracking competitors, specifically their IP, in order to generate increased profits by incorporating targeted business strategies. This blog focuses on how to use patent monitoring to track competitors and their patent filings.
Patent monitoring is a process wherein technology, legal status, proprietorship, and market trends related to competitors’ patents or published applications are consistently monitored in order to identify who is working on what and in which jurisdiction in the technological domain of interest in order to identify opportunities and threats at an early stage.
Patent monitoring can be done in a variety of ways. The main focus is on a particular technology or company that may be a competitor.
1. Company-based Patent Monitoring
For company-based patent monitoring, assignees working actively in the domain of interest, which could also include competitors, are extracted and normalized based on multiple subsidiaries, and then key patents are extracted from any database based on the assignees.
2. Technology-based Patent Monitoring
To extract key patents from technology-based patent monitoring, the technology of interest is first comprehended to identify core concepts, and search strings are created using keywords and classes.
Considering either company-based or technology-based patent monitoring, the preceding step will produce a set of patents that are further filtered based on the taxonomy nodes, which are prepared based on key technological concepts, and then further categorized to produce the report along with bibliographic information. The important part is to perform the above search on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly) to see if there are any new updates to the patents or patent applications already on the list, such as changes in legal status, litigation status, examination status, etc., or any new publication in the field or by the company of interest, and to highlight the same in the report.
The periodic process can be carried out manually, but as the number of patent filings increases on a daily basis, manual checking of the competitor’s IP will be ineffective, and a patent service with an automatic alerting system whenever anything new is initiated in the technology domain or on the arrival of a fresh update from a specific company for which the initial investigation was carried out is unquestionably required.
The following are the insights gained by a company by tracking competitors and their patent filings using patent monitoring:
1. Changing the patenting strategy of the company
Monitoring the patents filed in your area of interest by competitors aids in determining what additional areas should be concentrated on and where the company can achieve IPR protection by changing the patenting strategy, i.e., focusing on the particular area of interest in the field focused by competitors or the leftover areas like white spaces, or concentrating on the extension of geographical reach for the patents to maintain a competitive edge.
2. Find ways to challenge your competitor’s patents
If any of the competitor’s patent applications would cause a business barrier, take active steps at the respective patent office by challenging the patent application in light of the patentability requirement.
3. Estimate your freedom-to-operate opportunities
Competitors’ patents help determine whether it is safe to sell products in any region without fear of an infringement lawsuit.
4. Determine potential infringement information
Monitoring competitor patent applications aids in identifying technology in the applications that may infringe on your company’s intellectual property. Furthermore, it assists in taking appropriate steps to maintain a competitive advantage, such as monetizing patent rights.
5. Determine your competitors’ future marketing strategies
Analyzing a competitor’s patent filings can provide insight into the competitor’s future product marketing strategy. As a result, it can help in advance planning for product marketing strategy focus and improvement of a competing technology.
6. Identify a fresh entrant in the technology domain
In general, technologies in the development stage attract a large number of new applicants. As a result, patent monitoring aids in the identification of those applicants who may pose a future threat.
7. Identifying the Scope of Technological Advancement
Patent monitoring also helps in determining whether the competitor has paid the corresponding fees for patent allowance or patent maintenance. If the fees are not paid, the technology may become obsolete, and the company may instruct the R&D department to innovate as soon as possible based on the advancement of this technology.
To reap these benefits from patent monitoring, it is critical that information about patent filings be updated regularly. Since, any lag in this information could result in massive losses.
Leveraging the power of AI
Today’s AI-powered patent analytics tools, like XLSCOUT, leverage explainable AI-based technologies to help businesses discover relevant technical information quickly. With XLSCOUT, it is ever so easier now to compare and analyze technology trends over time. With easy access to graphical dashboards and insightful landscape reports, you can now view and compare the latest trends in a particular technology and identify the changes in competitor strategies.