Slice and Dice Patent Applications for Valuable Info
Historically, Patent Analysis has been a tool for the 1,000-pound gorillas of industry, but thanks to digitized patent filings, global access and increasingly sophisticated data miners, large quantities of information obtained from patents and patent applications can be analyzed to help smaller businesses make informed decisions they may not have thought possible.
Simply put, Patent Analysis is a method for visualizing large quantities of data related to research, potential breakthroughs and market ideas. My earlier post, Data Mining: Don’t Settle for Coal When Diamonds are Possible, outlined how these analytical methods are ideally suited to the analysis of patents and patent applications.
Consider the valuable nature of patent applications.
Not only are they rich in detail, but they are plentiful. More than 5 million were filed around the world in 2013. 
Since the purpose of the application is to lock others out of a future market, there are potentially revealing clues you can utilize.
Common data mined from Intellectual Property publications can include:
- Filing and publication dates.
- Assignee (company, university, etc).
- Technology area.
- Geographic region.
- The volume of patent applications and/or patents for these and other criteria.
With some manipulation these variables provide the information needed to:
1. Compare the amount of activity for technologies solving similar problems:
2. Compare the level of activity from your competitors while potentially identifying new significant players:
3. Compare activity levels inside the technology space:
4. Show the trending of technologies over time (more in Part 2 of this post):
Bigger companies understand that Patent Analytics offer benefits including high-level ideation, opportunity identification, threat identification, and competitor activity levels to help determine strategy.
Unfortunately, many smaller companies don’t even know Patent Analytics exist or how to incorporate them in decision making.
We like Patent Analytics inside Pearson Strategy because they show why it’s important to consider the three legs of the stool when making business decisions since patent applications covering a specific technology are filed in an attempt to capture a future market.
For example: What if you’re trying to license or sell your patent(s) and you’d like to identify companies that might be interested?
Why not analyze the worldwide patent data to identify those companies with lots of similar IP? If they’re in that space and have IP, the odds are reasonably good that they will consider licensing or purchasing your patent(s).
But wait, did you notice I said worldwide patent data? The U.S.’s patent authority, better known as the USPTO, draws many of the world’s inventors so it’s easy to become complacent in a data search. This would be a mistake since U.S. patent applications only represent 25 percent of the world’s total. 
Intrigued? There is even more valuable information when we move beyond 2-D graphics by incorporating an additional dimension…standby for Part 2!