It is always preferable to detect a threat before it strikes and to begin constructing protective layers for the future if the threat does strike. A lot of new things are also introduced during the formation of protective layers, which helps to improve the current working system. Similarly, monitoring competitors’ patent and intellectual property rights (IPR) helps companies improve their current systems while also preparing them for future threats. Patent monitoring keeps you up to date on granted patents and new patent applications.
Obtaining a patent for innovation is not the end goal; it is also critical to monitor competitors’ related technology domains. Identifying new and beneficial developments in key technological fields for acquisition, licensing, or collaboration is one of the use cases for patent monitoring.
What is the Purpose of Patent Monitoring?
Patent monitoring has become useful for a number of reasons, one of which is that, when used correctly, it can be a powerful weapon in a company’s arsenal. However, when not used correctly, it places a significant financial burden on a company because gaining access to monitoring systems and resources is costly. Companies frequently go through the motions of patent monitoring, with little conformance with their business priorities and a limited knowledge of the true power it possesses.
A patent monitoring report is a method for presenting targeted competitors’ patent portfolios, uses of extremely similar domain technology in products, technology ranking based on comparison, and patent strategies pursued by competitors, among other things. A report like this can assist you in evaluating future IP trends that are important to you and keeping a comprehensive competitive watch.
These reports may also include information about patent prosecution events, technological field monitoring, examiner behavior, family extension events, market research, and any other information that is required. These reports can be generated on a weekly, monthly, or ad hoc basis. Patent monitoring necessitates significant financial investment in order to gain access to the appropriate databases. While it is an important aspect of any organization, small and medium-sized businesses should think about the cost-benefit analysis of conducting this investment-heavy activity.
Benefits of Competitor Patent Monitoring
Monitoring competitors’ patents and IPR has several advantages, a few of which are listed below:
1. Potential Infringement Evaluation
When you sell a service or product that is entirely or partially covered by an existing issued patent, you risk infringing on existing technology. If you know whether your work infringes on someone else’s work or not, you can plan ahead of time to license or borrow it before being caught in an infringement case.
You can safeguard your intellectual property by monitoring competitor portfolios and identifying patents that are too close to home. Furthermore, on the basis of a monitoring report or portfolio analysis, it can be determined whether licensing or monetization is required.
The risk of not monitoring competitors is greater because other agitated patent owners would then try not just to stop selling your products but will also seek damages for lost sales. The risk is particularly high for smaller businesses that rely on a few innovative products and ideas to generate revenue. To avoid such a disaster, you must constantly monitor and analyze competitors’ patents to make sure your organization has the freedom to operate.
2. Choosing Freedom-to-Operate
The Freedom-to-Operate (FTO) analysis is used to identify all potential market threats. The FTO analysis typically includes search queries for issued patents and published patent applications covering technologies with similar features to the company’s technology, as well as an assessment of the risk of an infringement court case.
The ability of a business to monetize technology and market-related products is determined by its freedom-to-operate. With the help of monitoring, patent infringement lawsuits can always be avoided. Being aware of current patent and IPR activities is the best way to run a successful market operation.
3. Taking Advantage of New Growth Opportunities
Knowing your competitors’ weaknesses and areas for growth may make it easier to determine your own growth path and open the door to new opportunities and technological domains. Rather than focusing on the common areas, choosing a new area will undoubtedly benefit the company and add value to the portfolio, products, and services.
By monitoring, you can also learn about your competitors’ weak points, which you can then exploit to secure a position in that area, much like a golden opportunity. It also aids in determining a new area of investment, which is an important step in an organization’s growth.
4. Recognizing Spaces in Patent Landscaping
No matter how crowded a field is, there is always the possibility of discovering white spaces for new inventions.
Discovering these gaps through patent monitoring can provide the company with a competitive advantage. Therefore, it is in the company’s best interests to push for the development of novel products.
Once white gaps have been identified, these particular areas of interest may be protected by intellectual property rights. Making critical strategic decisions without understanding the competitive landscape can be risky and costly for the organization.
5. Detecting Potential Patent Conflicts
You can only take action against a competitor for your personal benefit if you recognize what the competitor has been doing wrong. Consider the following scenario: the competitor’s patent application fails to meet the patentability criteria. A smart company can file a third-party pre-issuance submission to challenge the pending patent application in this situation.
If a competitor is likely to receive material patent rights, an intelligent company can make sure that none of its actions infringe on those patent rights. The company employs the “design around” process to safeguard its product(s) from any future lawsuits. Since, these lawsuits may arise as a result of the competitor’s pending patent application.
6. Looking for a New Potential Competitor
The introduction of a new player into a field always poses a threat to the existing players. Given this scenario, it is prudent to remain vigilant and informed of competitors’ activities in order to gain a foothold in the market. As a result, businesses can be better prepared to deal with any potential threats strategically.
7. Analyzing Geography and Jurisdiction
Currently, technological advancement is not limited to a single country, jurisdiction, or physical geography of the world. Limiting patent monitoring to jurisdiction or geography is no longer an adequate solution because technology is breaking down all barriers. This analysis assists organizations in their pursuit of improved patent protection coverage in international markets.
8. Current Investment Trends and Future Patent Trends
There is no doubt that pursuing patent protection is an expensive process in terms of both money and time. That is why businesses take it seriously and make careful investments. Obtaining patent rights, on the other hand, provides a competitive advantage that makes an applicant’s investment worthwhile. Since patent application filings are typically long-term investments, they take several years to mature. The area of interest can be determined by tracking competitors’ patent filings, which may monetize the business in the future.
Keeping an eye on what a competitor is attempting to protect gives insight into the competitor’s intended business strategy. It aids in better understanding the direction of the competition by monitoring their patent filings and planning ahead of time.
To reap these benefits from patent monitoring, information about patent filings must be updated on a regular basis. Any lag in this information could lead to 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.