How reliable are your IP competitive intelligence tools?

Ever had questions about the reliability of your IP competitive intelligence reports?

As mentioned in passing in earlier posts, IP can be used as a competitive intelligence tool to gain insight into the actions of industry rivals as well as collaborators. Engaging in regular IP surveillance is likely to allow a company to spot opportunities and threats on the market and be able to increase its response rate to different changes in the industry environment.

Because of the large amount of publicly available information, patents are often subject to complex IP analysis. The tools and service offerings existing on the market differ but can include: patent landscaping, background and foreground citation maps and historical patent development in a field (among others).  The result of a complete analysis will reveal main competitors, important research clusters, areas which are new on the market (showing a high patent intensity in recent years), dying technologies (areas with low patent intensity in recent years), key technologies (most cited patents), potential infringement cases, etc.

Patents are however not the only IP that can be used as a source of valuable market information. Trademark surveillance programs, although slightly less complex,  are also a viable tool in this sense. Trademark searches can show, among other, changes in competition (based on comparison of trademark characteristics over a period of time), movements on new markets (registrations in new markets), infringement threats, etc.

The reliability and practical use of IP surveillance programs is an issue debated in the business community. What do you think?  To what are IP surveillance reports reliable and to what extent can they be used?

It is my belief that before taking any action you need to understand the limitations of the analysis. The data used for building a report varies according to a large number of factors first of which is time. Other factors include: the databases in which searches are done, amount of industry noise, queries used, number of hours dedicated to the search and researcher’s experience, etc.

In essence a report will describe the industry status in a specific time and with a specific focus. Changing the search parameters is likely to affect the initial focus and lead to different results. For me, this makes a report valuable when it comes to creating an overview of the industry (its threats and opportunities) and the relative position of your company but it’s a little more complicated to depict the specific value of a specific IP right.

[Image credit: Lumaxart]

One Comment on “How reliable are your IP competitive intelligence tools?

  1. Pingback: General Global Week in Review 11 October 2010 from IP Think Tank

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