Spot disruptive innovations early on the shelves

What if it was possible to spot disruptive trends early on, to prepare or even capitalize on the market shift? Apple has become a leader in the watch market within just 2 years. As with the iPad, iPod and Apple computers before it, the Apple Watch has been a clearly disruptive force. Millions of dollars in revenue were thus withdrawn from the traditional watch market. An event that occurs in many industries today and that every company tries to predict in the best possible way.

Traditional Intellectual Property Analytics are hard to read, even for seasoned experts, with analyses more often appearing as jumbled haystacks rather than meaningful substance. Now new analytics methods are coming in Intellectual Property, revealing such insights as the advent of Apple’s wearable ambitions years before rumors were emerging.

“Traditional” quantitative perspective

Counting the number of patents filed which cite the market of interest:

“Traditional” quantitative perspective - patent hay stack

New qualitative perspective

Assessing the value of the patents citing the market of interest, and tracking the active portfolios over time:

New qualitative perspective - clearly visible trend


From quantity to quality – Revealing hidden trends with PatentSight

On the vertical, we have moved away from a purely quantitative approach to a qualitative one. Instead of the sheer number of patent families, we now look at the strength of the portfolios citing this technology, utilizing the independently verified methodology of the Patent Asset Index.

On the horizontal, we switch from a simple filing year to a full evaluation of the active portfolios over time, which we call “Reporting Date”. Each data point is comprised of only the active patents, and the available information, at that point in time. Combining historic legal status and citation data in a way not seen elsewhere in the IP-Analytics Industry, providing a window into the true state of the innovation landscape at a given point in time.

After this transformation, Apple can be seen clearly rising from the pack, whereas before it was one of many undistinguished players. Such trend analysis need not be complex and can be created with only a few clicks and seconds in PatentSight.

Knowing what’s next – 7 years before the product launch

In 2007 Apple launched the first iPhone. It took until 2011 before the first rumors surfaced that Apple might be developing wearable devices – and another four until the Apple Watch hit the shelves.

With PatentSight’s metrics in 2008, this was already clear, a hand full of Apple patents (out of more than 10,000) had grown in strength building heavily on the developments of Swiss watchmakers. It may have never occurred to the Swiss watchmakers to consider Apple as a competitor, using the past as a guide. With Apple not appearing in traditional competitive searches based simply on the number of patents citing the technology field of Swiss watches.

Apple disrupting the watch market - with PatentSight metrics already visible in 2008 

Identify disruptive technologies and innovations with easy-to-use analytics, helping you to gain a competitive edge

Apple became the #1 watchmaker in the world within two years – with just one product!

The early identification of this disruptive technology would have given the market leaders of the time, already in the year 2008, clear signals about a new groundbreaking trend that they could have taken advantage, likely gaining millions of dollars in revenue. In fact, market leaders started their first discussions that Apple might be developing a wearable device in 2010. With the metrics of patent data analyses shown above they could have been seen that 2 years earlier!

In recent years it has become increasingly common that new entrants which may at first appear small and inconspicuous, only serving a niche, break through to the larger market becoming leaders in the shortest time. Their developments arise from their possibilities, agility, and unconventional practices. Eventually leading to the displacement of established companies.

For this reason, it is essential for companies to identify disruptive technologies and their developers early on. Only in this way will they have the chance to react to developments in time to:

  • align their own developments

  • reject non-competitive innovations at an early stage

  • purchase new types of innovations and thus set up for a trend in a good time

If they don’t, they risk losing their market relevance and competitive strength. Their products and technologies are outdated overnight and they can expect enormous financial losses.

Quality KPIs lead to unexpected insights

Technological improvement is secured and sustained through the intellectual property of a company. Benchmarking against competitors and trend analysis in the field of future technologies is a common use case for IP Portfolios analytics.

However, in recent years it has been established that only a small proportion of patents create any value for the holder. Therefore traditional analyses which simply compare the size of patent portfolios or counting the number of patent families alone does not provide us any concrete insight into the strength of these patents.

The Patent Asset Index™ – Standard KPI in investor communication and objective measure of global technological strength and influence

The Patent Asset Index™ is the heart of PatentSight’s analytics platform for strategic IP management and, therefore, a key component in everything we do for our clients. Being scientifically validated, industry leaders trust PatentSight to illustrate the strength of their patent portfolios in annual shareholder reports and other stakeholder communications.

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