Four Layered Patent Analysis Support For Strategic R & D


Overview – The Need Description

In today’s global environment, a highly successful innovation and technological market leader will have the following attributes:
1. A strong basic R&D investment;
2. A large body of skilled scientists and engineers;
3. A flexible and skilled work force;
4. Reliable utilities and other infrastructure;
5. Competitive investor and tax environment; and last but not the least.,
6. Information on the patent landscape. The importance of the information on patent landscape is of high relevance to this whitepaper.

Business Challenges

  • 100% unambiguous patent landscape information for effective decision making
  • Competitive and integrated patent portfolio with far reaching strategic goals
  • Organization wide collaborative platform for brain storming ideas
  • Monitor and track the competition from potential patent infringements cost effectively

The solution sought by the R&D community from enterprises to tackle the highlighted business challenges is ‘beyond information   technology  and intellectual property information’.

Four Layers – The nexus with Intellectual Property (patents) and Information  Technology 

The following four layered approach for capturing patent information will present itself to be unique in elaborating the ‘Beyond Information  Technology  and Beyond Intellectual Property’ strategy.

The proposed 4 layered framework is expected to be a value added solution that marks one of the best approaches. This will also deliver the much needed focus to research strategy.

Beyond Information  Technology 

The fundamental problem addressed by the products of information  technology  i.e the software tools belonging to the patent analysis genre does not usually justify the purpose i.e comprehensive patent analysis. Interactive Web page disseminating patent information that is more readily reproducible and accessible, than traditional forms of scholarly & pedagogical communication is the need of the hour. The patent information captured on the interactive webpage usually involves a cross functional team to work in tandem. The following sections of this article would evolve a deep understanding on the four layered approach required for capturing the patent information. The approach mentioned here would throw light on changing facet of the researcher’s requirement to include the patent information while determining the research focus.

Beyond Intellectual Property

During yester years, file sharing networks concerning patent data or the so called patent databases have grown into what is today the largest, most diverse and most accessible patent archive in history. Even though the availability of inexpensive internet bandwidth and storage space still divides the global north from the global south, one of the most far-reaching results of file sharing is that there is now access to information everywhere. Of particular interest is the question of the archive: In a time where file-sharing networks constitute the largest repository of patent data that has ever existed, the focus shifts from individual users with interests in particular patent files to organized groups and institutions and their desire to organize, keep available, backup and make accessible this patent data. Today’s approach demands that enterprises with a research focus deal less and less with “content providers” (that dump information onto consumers) but more and more with “context providers” (that infuse information into social networks of production).

Layer One – Data Extraction

The myriad amount of patent information made available from the various patent databases around the world is a challenge to comprehend and extract. The concept of patent searching in these databases has evolved into an explicit genre in science. Patent searching is one of the ways of extracting data pertinent to a specific knowledge domain. The other information reservoirs could be attributed to the whitepapers, presentations, domestic & international space journals and finally the third party websites. Patent searching science for the purpose of patent landscaping firstly begins with the preparation of a background study to form a search concept table. This study involves the detailed information search amongst the patent and non patent literature available from the sources cited previously. A search concept table serves as a platform to organize & streamline the search operation made on the various relevant patent databases for any topic. This method of patent searching serves as an index to parse through the various search concepts used along with the keywords in the form of a search string. Also, data extraction layer is to include the preparation of search strategy. For Example: The search strategy table is concerned with the area of searching and that this table mainly consists of the number of hits for each search query executed, issue/publication date against each search query executed etc. The attempt to execute this layer i.e the extraction of data must be done with utmost care. Otherwise, the entire objective to seek the patent landscape and hence obtain focus to the R&D is vulnerable to get derailed as the other three layers heavily rely on this very first layer for their effectiveness.

Layer Two – Data Analysis & Data Cleansing

The approaches derived for this layer is based on the outcome from the data extraction layer. In spite of the competencies of the team carrying out the data extraction and the seamless processes in place, the search results are bound to be prone to contain spurious records. Hence, it is one of the main objectives of this layer to cleanse the data and make it free from spurious records. The records normalization methodology followed here typically involves consolidation of company names i.e patent assignee names, categorization of  technology  etc. For ensuring error-free normalization, the patent databases again form the source to obtain the corporate tree information. Many a times, it is the patent landscaping team’s competency that determines the  technology  classification of patents. Hence it is imperative that a cross functional team include a variety of subject matter experts to provide a solution at crunch times.

Layer Three – Data Integration, Patent Valuation

Data integration is nothing but the collation of multi source, multi platform information into a recognizable format. This layer also is quite responsible for the elucidation of the taxonomy into a mind map that is deemed useful by enterprises for organization of patents etc. The specific tools to draw the mind map prove handy. For Eg. Mindpro Manager. Further, an interactive mind map that is responsive to mouse clicks serve a great deal in the data integration. Data integration is also about the extrapolation of missing information on the results obtained from the previous layers. For eg., its not always that the patent assignee information is presented on the patent. Hence it is mandatory that the team rely on the non patent literature for this purpose. However, in realtime situations, even the use of non patent literature does not serve the requirement, so an in depth primary research is to be conducted in a comprehensive manner.
Patent Valuation through primary research
Primary research capabilities that enables data gathering from patent holders, which in turn helps understand if the patent exists as a prototype with demonstrable results at lab stage for non-life science patents. For life-sciences, understanding the in-vivo models used for tests and results there-of. Further, understanding of toxicology data in life-sciences to interpret and ensure the multiple use of a specific patent proves beneficial. The primary research data collected in this phase simply stands incomparable with any of the secondary research data made available from the varied data sources. Hence, the approach to conduct primary research should be well formulated with adequate hypothesis drawn on need basis.

Layer Four – Data Presentation

Data presentation layer is formulated with the help of the wiki. Wiki is an excellent collaboration tool and can be used for sharing information within distributed teams. In addition to wikis, a careful assessment from the enterprises’ requirements revealed the need for a dashboard. The dashboard is a Web 2.0 solution that works inside the web browser. Categorization of the patents shown on the dashboard is done based on the taxonomy arrived in the initial layers. The dashboard also houses information on patent distribution by company and timeline; one can click on the patents to read the title/abstract/claim information. The patent documents in pdf formats can be tagged, rated and filtered for future use. Dashboard is a simple, yet powerful tool for collaboration and is used by dozens of the world’s largest companies for sharing and managing large quantities of patents, products and scientific literature.

Benefits / Returns expected

The four layered approach mentioned in this whitepaper has been deployed in numerous tier I organizations belonging to a wide industry choice. However, the following benefits are inevitable in due course for any organization (large or small) incorporating the best practices mentioned.

1. Save hundreds of hours per research project adding up to thousands of saved hours – worth several hundred thousand dollars
2. Help create new product strategies that can result in multi-billion dollar new product opportunities
3. Save litigation costs (several million dollars per lawsuit) from potential patent infringement lawsuits

White space analysis

Apart from the above benefits derived, the identification of white spaces proves to be the much needed competitive edge on a seamless patent analysis exercise. White space analysis involves the break down of patent classification into smaller segments with exactly 7 to 15 patents. This allows the research to be focused on a specific area that is deemed cash rich for future product development. The white space analysis helps to spot the opportunities from the crowded areas of patenting. Marking a cross against a specific ingredient indicates its usage. Finally, the white spaces in the table show opportunities for a company to venture out and get patents.


Though the conventional IT has been facilitating the emerging needs of R&D efforts inside an enterprise, the concept of making use of the layered approach support to the researchers remain un-touched. Enterprises seeking such a service from the global knowledge service leaders tend to garner greater return on investment for the funds allocated from the Enterprise R&D budget.

Source by Subramanian Manikandan B

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