White space analysis is defined as the process of identifying gaps or voids in technology in order to define a less populated area in a patenting technology. White space analysis is also known as grey area identification analysis or white space opportunity mapping.
The grey area is divided into two categories: active whitespace and inactive whitespace. The presence of active whitespace defines the presence of opportunities in technology and its potential advancement with minimal hurdles.
On the contrary, inactive whitespace defines existing voids in technology but is restricted by the country’s rules and regulations, which create a hindrance to investment opportunities in the voided technology.
White space analysis is used to identify market competitors, sales figures, risk assessments, voids, customer details, and other data. An organisation can anticipate and decide whether to sell its products horizontally or vertically using white space analysis.
Vertical selling is defined as selling a product in its upgraded version at a higher cost of sale, whereas horizontal selling is defined as cross-selling, which is the co-selling of products as supplements or complements.
For example, in vertical selling, the basic version and features of a product are updated to a new or higher level, increasing vertical sales, whereas in horizontal selling, products such as laptops are accompanied by bags and stands as a supplementary, increasing product sales.
Advantages of the White Space Analysis
- Identifying existing customers in the new space through market analysis and predicting future customers and their expectations by taking into account the circumstances unique to a jurisdiction
- There may be technological voids in a jurisdiction, but they cannot be filled because of laws in that jurisdiction
- Raising customer awareness of customer attributes such as cost parameters, expectations, and some negative opinions about the product
- Providing a high-level overview of the costs of investing in the newly vacated innovation sector
- Developing the company’s sales strategy based on horizontal and vertical selling
- Gathering information about competitors’ sales strategies in the identified gap, as well as their market ventures, which will be useful in planning the company’s own sales
- Learning about the challenges that exist in a domain motivates an organization to develop an adequate solution to the challenges that exist
Who Makes a Request for White Space Analysis?
A white space analysis is typically requested by a company that wants to expand its market presence into a new domain. In short, a white space analysis is requested by a company looking to expand and strengthen its intellectual property portfolio, or by a new company looking to build an IP portfolio.
For example, this white space analysis is useful when an entity is involved in the shoe-making process and wishes to enter the cosmetics domain.
In another case, when an organization is working in shoe-making technology and is looking for ways to enhance the effectiveness and quality of the shoes by evaluating a new technology or process for strengthening their existing shoe-making technology, this white space analysis is useful.
The Method for Finding Patent White Space
In most cases, white space analysis is performed as part of the patent landscape search and analysis. The process of identifying the grey area follows the same basic steps as technology landscape search and analytics.
1. First Phase
The first phase involves identifying and categorizing a broad technology into major technologies, types, sources, applications, characteristics, methods, and other similar categories. This corresponds to the landscape’s technology segmentation.
This type of preliminary planning would give the researcher an idea of how to approach the process in an organized manner in order to cover the entire broad domain. This is possible in both automatic and manual mode.
Several commercial patent databases provide specialized services to businesses looking to expand their business, such as automatic landscape and white space technology segmentation and additional analysis. With a single click, the data in this type of analysis can be adjusted to meet the needs of the company.
2. Second Phase
The retrieval of relevant patents, non-patent literature, publications, theses and dissertations, blogs, commercial products, and other materials corresponding to the technology domain with bibliographic details is the second phase in patent white space.
This can be accomplished by conducting keyword-based, inventor-based, patent classification-based, and applicant or assignee-based searches in both patent and non-patent database sources. The next step is to standardize the data. Data standardization includes:
- Citing only one patent per INPADOC family and eliminating family duplications, as well as removing irrelevant patents
- Including all members of the patent family (depending upon the requirements)
- In an order, format the date and names of the inventors and applicants
- Determining the standard applicant name for subsidiaries, mergers and acquisitions
3. Third Phase
The third phase is technology segmentation. Alternatively, the third phase is accomplished by grouping the identified techniques from the citations into broad technologies.
4. Last Phase
The last phase in the white space process is mapping major technologies with sub-technologies and their attributes such as methods, characteristics, material type, and applications.
Furthermore, the non-patent literature is examined to identify existing problems and their solutions, as well as to address future problems that may arise during the research and development of the innovation.
To demonstrate the challenges, the data can be presented in a matrix format with a heat map view and in a comparative manner.
What is White-Space Mapping?
White space opportunity mapping is the process of mapping technologies with their attributes such as sub-technologies, applications, characteristics, and so on, in order to identify the domain’s innovation void. The mapping’s focus is based on the following factors:
- External focus on available technologies, market status, and potential market voids in order to generate new opportunities for company expansion. The external focus reveals the presence of competitors in the voided or slightly voided technology, existing players and new customers in less crowded areas; gaps revealing the possibility of merging and acquisition; a modern technological market with no intellectual property protection; sales and marketing activity
- The internal focus is to assess the company’s ability to deal with current opportunities and threats from competitors
- The goal of future focus is to forecast the future based on external focus data such as current technologies, market status, and potential voids
How to Find White Spaces?
There are several ways to identify the white spaces.
- Using a matrix to compare technologies or sub-technologies. For example, a major technology is mapped against the sub-technologies to figure out the opportunities available at the sub-technology level
- Comparing technologies with their attributes, such as characteristics or applications in a matrix. For example, a major technology is mapped with an application in a matrix to discover the most crowded and least crowded applications that use the technology
- Identifying new opportunities and existing issues in the non-patent literature and review articles. Finally, mapping the problems with the solutions allows the company to build an approach idea for resolving various existing problems
How Should You Approach White Space Analysis?
- A company can perform self-analysis to identify related domain-oriented opportunities. They need to understand both internal and external parameters in order to identify a few related technologies with potential opportunities that are closely related to the company’s interests. Internal parameters include the company’s strengths and weaknesses, operating capacity, turnover, manpower, and risk to competitors; while external parameters include the market situation, technology, customer nature, product cost, product distribution, underlying risks associated with technologies, customer preference and expectations, and so on
- Identifying a segmentation of the few recognized technologies where the company’s current strength allows for new market entry. Depending on the type of recognized technology, these technologies are segmented and clustered technology-wise, type-wise, source-wise, application-wise, and others
- Extracting relevant information from patent and non-patent literature sources and recombining the previously separated groups. The pooling consists of all possible methods for producing a specific technology, all possible materials used in technology, all possible sources of technology, and the widespread application of the technology
- Mapping technology versus major technology, sub technology, materials, characteristics, methods, and applications in a matrix to identify dense and sparse areas
- Confirming the grey area by cross-referencing patents and non-patent literature before moving forward with the company’s next steps
In general, white space analysis is used to forecast potential opportunities and risks in a technological domain. The predicted analysis may provide the company with comfort and reliability to take the next investment step in their expansion and venture with minimal risk.
In some cases, companies refuse to move ahead with the white space search and analysis because they believe the predicted data is not reliable or valid, which could result in a loss of investment, effort, and time.
What Are the Contents of a White Space Analysis Report?
The White Space Analysis Business Report is divided into several sections. They are:
- The goals and understanding of the grey area study, as well as the client requirements
- The approach methodology tends to cover the technology of interest, including keywords, patent classification codes, inventors’ or applicants’ names, and so on
- Based on the study findings, a summary and vision of the technology’s strengths and weaknesses are provided
- Existing problems in the domain are identified through market and non-patent literature analysis
- The color-coded heat map analytics show the concentration of the intellectual protection crowd in a technology
- Market analysis to provide insight into the prevailing market status, customers of the grey area, and a prediction about the grey area market’s future growth and/or decline
The grey area identification analysis can be performed manually or automatically, and the report can be presented in a pool of excel files containing a list of pertinent patents and non-patent literature manually segmented according to white-spaced domains, as well as a PowerPoint report containing research, recommendations, analytics, and insights.
Several commercial patent databases, on the other hand, allow the entity to either manually or automatically analyze the patent literature in order to uncover the basic insights needed for white space analysis.
Why Should You Perform White Space Analysis?
There should be two scenarios for the white space analysis. They are:
- To identify opportunities in a new technology area with the goal of entering a new market in order to expand the company’s intellectual property portfolio. This can be accomplished through the use of a technology versus application matrix, in which each individual technology is mapped corresponding to the applications to determine the space for making the leap into a new area.
- To identify gaps in the business’s existing product status and to solve problems with the goal of improving the product’s quality, efficacy, and efficiency. This gap in the existing grey area can be analyzed by evaluating the issues that impede product quality and developing appropriate solutions to overcome the obstacles.
Who makes use of white space analysis?
White space analysis is used by employees at all levels of a company.
- The technology analysis assists the R&D team in streamlining their new product development on the basis of the available resources and opportunity gap.
- The market status, customer, market analysis, cost analysis, customer interest, and expectations and threats provide some insight for the planning team’s decision-making process for new product development.
- The risk assessment provides the business development team with an overview of the investment opportunities and risk details.
For example, a voided area might have a few associated negative hurdles in space that may make it difficult for payers to enter the area. These negative hurdles would aid in forecasting the anticipated risk that comes with the company’s new investments.
White Space Analysis Databases
As previously stated, the process of conducting white space mind map analysis is similar to that of reviewing patent literature using patent landscapes.
Openly available patent databases and patent office databases, such as Google Patents, World Intellectual Property Organization-Patentscope, Lens.org, FreePatentsOnline, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Espacenet, Japan Patent Office (IPDL), Chinese Patent Office (SIPO), and many others, are useful in this analysis process.
There are a number of tools available for locating commercial products and non-patent literature. Journal websites, search engines such as Science Direct, Google Scholar, IEEE, Nature, and others, dissertations and theses, and commercial websites are examples of these.
How Can XLSCOUT Assist with White Space Analysis?
XLSCOUT’s AI-based tools use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies to provide useful insights into the technologies.
With a single click, our tools provide insights into the grouping of patents and publications in a domain.
The insights are,
Based on the intellectual property dataset, trend-wise analysis shows the technological advancements over time and specific information about recently evolving technologies in the current year.
- Analysis of jurisdictions to provide insight into the spread of technology or opportunities to enter a jurisdiction
- Analyses by applicant and classification of patents
- The in-depth domain analysis is indicated by a technology breakdown analysis that disintegrates the core technology claimed in the patents into child technologies
- Problem-solving analysis that provides information about existing challenges and throws light on the key players who are providing solutions.
Our one-click solution, powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques, helps you save time and effort by automatically providing the essential details for the white space analysis in the early stages.
Because of various intellectual property parameters, the tool’s analysis is customizable to the client’s needs and requirements.