How can businesses increase the strategic relevance of their IP department, assess and minimize risks, identify new business opportunities, and stay ahead of the innovation curve? Examining this as a case study in an arbitrary organization would help us immensely to understand IP analytics and the finer details of this complex topic.
There was once a multi-national IT company that was on the brink of a major commercial event but found itself without a leader for its IP department. When 38-year-old Erin was hired to head the team, she found herself in an environment with a vast, nebulous patent portfolio and a vague IP business strategy. She realized she had a limited time before the planned event to make sure all risks are hedged, and her team is fully prepared to support the organization achieve its commercial goals.
Let’s find out how, by applying advanced IP analytics, not only did Erin overcome the challenges that were ahead of her new team, but she was also able to transform the IP department to be a strategic advisor to the business.
Challenges that laid ahead for the new Head of IP
IP is inherently a complex field and its commercial significance to the business is difficult, at best, to demonstrate. Moreover, the IP department is often perceived as a cost center instead of a value creator. But in terms of business strategy, the IP department represents an important powerhouse of information that can definitely add value to strategic decision making. This is already evident in the modern-day role of a Head of IP, which include responsibilities like:
- Overseeing all aspects of the Intellectual Property department.
- Managing outside counsel, ensuring execution of the company’s patent strategy.
- Collaborating with scientific and technical leadership staff to build a strong IP position.
- Providing guidance to perform competitive patent intelligence research.
- Responding to patent office challenges brought on by third parties.
- Supporting outside and in-house litigation counsels in asserting and defending against patent infringement.
- Partnering with internal corporate counsels on contracts and agreements.
- Aligning IP strategy with business goals and working cross-functionally across departments to deliver on strategic corporate goals.
- Partnering with business development on licensing transactions, M&A due diligence and scouting.
- Fostering IP awareness and understanding among senior leadership and in the organization.
This was also true for Erin. She quickly understood that her new role meant that she would have to lead a team that supports everything from identifying unique technologies to bring to market (FTO) to demonstrating business value to investors and other stakeholders.
Upon initial audit, she realized that the list of challenges she faced when starting her new job, too, was long. After a comprehensive review, she identified the need to address the following key IP issues to get a complete picture and steer the company on the right track:
- What are our patent portfolio’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
- What are the critical patents in our portfolio?
- Is our patent database complete and up-to-date?
- Do we know all our competitors, small or large or even may be from a different field or region?
- How to get global inventor names to enable HR teams find and add more skilled inventors to your team?
- Which of our competitors’ patents are still in force?
- Is there any potential for cost savings in our patent portfolio?
- How can we best monetize our intellectual property?
- Who are some of the potential strategic technology partners?
Obtaining unparalleled insights using LexisNexis® PatentSight® IP analytics
The foundation was laid, but Erin knew external support was inevitable to tackle the given IP challenges. After some broad internet research, she came across different patent analytics tools that looked promising. One of them was PatentSight® from LexisNexis Intellectual Property Solutions.
Erin took advantage of LexisNexis’ offer of a free demonstration. A meeting was set up on short notice in which Erin depicted the IP challenges her company faced. Most importantly, she expected the future tool to meet her team’s high demand for analytics and insights.
The LexisNexis team assisted Erin with the onboarding process by means of tailored training sessions and webinars to make maximum use of the tool’s analytical capabilities. Within days of implementing the IP analytics tool, Erin already saw success. The unique possibilities of the analysis tool were decisive for this:
- Invaluable technology insights and powerful collaborative capabilities: A patent landscape analysis provided Erin’s team with a snapshot of the innovations taking place in the software industry. It also helped her, and her team, determine where the technology is going, who is most involved, and where innovation is taking place. For this, PatentSight analytics include objective, scientifically-validated metrics that measure the impact of patented inventions and the strength of entire patent portfolios. Beyond that, the IP analytics tool offers enterprise-ready collaboration and workflow features. These allow a seamless flow of insights and feedback between Erin and her team members.
- Regularly updated and consistently high quality patent data: Data quality is a prerequisite for reliable IP analytics. If the data used to perform analysis contains inaccuracies, the findings of the patent analysis will be just as inexact. As a veteran in the IP management field, Erin understands that such errors can lead to wrong or ambiguous business decisions, which may result in severe financial damage and degrade the IP department’s reputation. With global patent records that go through an in-depth data harmonization process, PatentSight improves patent data quality – a fundamental foundation on Erin’s path to propel innovation. High data quality standards are achieved by a combined effort of Machine Learning algorithms and human research experts that cross-check the data points for accuracy.
- Scientifically validated indicators that measure patent family value: The ideal way to evaluate a patent portfolio has less to do with the number of patents in it. Instead, developing a qualitative metric is vital to draw the correct business-relevant conclusions. For this purpose, PatentSight uses scientifically validated indicators that measure the relative business value of each patent family. These offered Erin fresh, unparalleled insights into the technology focus of competitors, possible companies to acquire, and even business partners to whom their company could license certain patents. Presenting all these insights to her leadership team helped her to, in a short time, increase the strategic relevance of the IP department within her company.
- Strong visualization features: Besides its patent analysis capabilities, Erin also benefits from PatentSight’s visualization features. With sunburst charts and bubble charts, among others, she communicates her findings with powerful visualizations, enabling her to turn the patent department into a strategic consulting unit. PatentSight visualizations are easy to understand and digest, also for non-patent experts.
- User-specific access to support the exchange of insights: Another feature of the PatentSight IP analytics platform is user-specific access to all analyses. This way, Erin can share entire workbooks and analyses with her cross-functional team, allowing them to either read or review the insights that are tailor-made for them without fear of anyone introducing unintended changes to the data behind the analyses.
- Tracking sustainable investing: Sustainability remains at the core of almost all current industry agendas. This is also true for Erin’s company. Regarding patent insights, she was particularly keen to learn how sustainably focused her company is and whether competitors have research activities in similar technology fields. With PatentSight’s unique patent to SDG mapping, Erin can conduct an objective patent analysis against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG). This helps her track the progress of investments in sustainable R&D and technology over time, learn which sustainable technologies make an impact, get an overview of the competitive landscape in sustainable technology fields, and identify growth opportunities in emerging markets. Global industry leaders like Merck and Siemens already use this analysis in their sustainability reports and shareholder communication
LexisNexis PatentSight Technology Clusters
LexisNexis Benchmarking Bubble Chart
Patent data analytics: Transforming your IP department from a cost center to a strategic business unit
The present example underlines the importance of patent data as a strategic business tool. PatentSight IP analytics help deliver powerful data analytics and competitive insights that enable IP professionals like Erin to make informed IP decisions. Further benefits include:
- Predict trends: Patent data offers precious insights for companies seeking to predict technology and product trends. It is even more important as a patent grant is an intricate process, with an average time of three to five years from patent to product.1
- Discover cost-saving avenues: Looking at a portfolio based on quality and the future annuity costs required to maintain it puts the portfolio’s patents in perspective.
- Attain competitor insights: It also allows for discovering competitor activity, identifying new players in the market, and receiving information on where and in which technology areas their patents are being filed.
- Discover collaboration opportunities: Patent findings also aid in identifying potential partners, patent licensees, and further patent monetization opportunities.
Get in touch with our IP analytics experts
We’re eager to connect with you and hear about your IP challenges. Contact our experts to benefit from advanced IP analytics and stay ahead of the innovation curve.
Get actionable insights for strategic decision making
Want to become more effective at managing your patent portfolio, identify worldwide relevant patents and technology trends, assess the competitive landscape, and find partners and licensing opportunities?