Sports enthusiasts know that defense wins championships, but it is no less critical when it comes to business. Patent protection plays an essential role in any business’s defensive strategy by preventing its competitors from making, using, or selling the valuable invention described in a granted patent. However, obtaining a patent is not the only defensive play a business can be used to protect itself. Actively monitoring your competitors’ patent applications enables your business to predict changes in the competitive landscape and to make adaptive decisions to protect the health of your company.
Game Changing Patent Applications
Imagine your company has comfortably conducted business for as long as you can remember. You have competition, but you have established your presence in the market, and you predict that business will only grow in the upcoming years. One day you catch wind that one of your rivals has filed a patent application that could shake up your industry – a new product, perhaps, or a business method that is far superior to the industry status quo.
Your rival’s patent application might pass through patent prosecution with few changes and issue with broad protection, or it could be severely narrowed or even rejected entirely. Either way, you have concerns that you may no longer be able to compete if this patent issues. Patent prosecution is a long process, and you know that awareness of how your rival’s patent application progresses is knowledge that could help your business react to and survive any potential outcome.
Sizing Up the Competition
Now imagine that your company is excited to have filed a patent application covering a business process that, if granted, will give you a considerable edge over your competition. As you watch for your patent application to publish, you notice that thirty patent applications belonging to a number of your competitors publish in the same field but with claims different than those in your application. Having been filed before your application, any of your competitors’ patent applications could impact your patent prosecution strategy going forward. Prosecution continues, and each competitor application faces different challenges. Eventually, ten competitor patent applications enter into a critical stage of patent prosecution, and you need monitor them daily for status changes so that you can amend your patent application as soon as it becomes necessary. The other twenty competitor applications require only weekly attention, but using the USPTO’s Public PAIR to stay on top of all thirty competitor patent applications begins to feel like a full-time job.
Overcoming the Patent Monitoring Burden
Extended periods of no prosecution activity followed by abrupt status updates makes monitoring a single patent application uniquely tricky. Consistent prosecution monitoring is required to catch patent prosecution updates when they occur, and each Public PAIR search is cumbersome and time-consuming. Patent prosecution monitoring becomes significantly more involved if you need to track multiple applications using Public PAIR because you must actively search for each patent application, one-by-one, every time you need an update. Fortunately, LexisNexis® PAIR Watch delivers USPTO PAIR updates straight to your inbox.
With its easy-to-use interface, PAIR Watch users determine how frequently PAIR Watch monitors each tracked patent application. PAIR Watch sends users alerts regarding updates to Image File Wrappers, Continuity Data, or Transaction Histories within Public PAIR, and each PAIR Watch email contains direct links to prosecution history documents that can be viewed, downloaded, or printed by users. For patent monitoring in bulk, PAIR Watch can combine alerts for multiple applications into a single, easily managed Excel spreadsheet. If periodic assurance that nothing has changed gives you peace of mind, PAIR Watch can do that, too.
Cut the burden out of patent prosecution monitoring – update your game plan with LexisNexis PAIR Watch.