Actionable Patent Landscapes

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Twenty years ago, patent information was expensive, readily accessible only by professional researchers, and the tools to process it fairly crude. Today, patent information is cheap – many sources free, can be accessed by anyone, and the tools to analyze it quite sophisticated. One universal problem, however, has not changed from then to now. Decision-makers often receive patent landscape reports that offer lots of enticing graphics, but little substance on which to make business decisions. So we offer some coaching along the way to make sure our clients receive what they need from a patent landscape.

An actionable patent landscape should allow you to do one or both of two things associated with your business objective:

1.      Make a strategic business decision

2.      Manage the value of associated IP

For making a strategic business decision, your inquiries will involve one or a combination of:

1.      Where to focus resources

2.      How to gain efficiencies

3.      Freedom of Action/Operation

4.      Risk mitigation

5.      R&D Pace

For managing the value of associated IP, your inquiries will involve one or a combination of:

1.      Estimating what a value is

2.      Making a case for a higher or lower value

3.      Making a decision to favorably raise, acquire, divest, or preserve value

To succeed, we ask what you do not know now that you need the patent landscape to uncover, or ask what you cannot prove now that you expect the landscape to prove.  Then we make sure that each component of the patent landscape supports the question, and flags answers you need to know, even if they are answers you did not wish to receive.  Building an actionable patent landscape requires that all parties involved in the project have a complete understanding of what the business objective is.  This understanding can easily break down because the lens from which business, R&D, licensing, legal, and analyst professionals view patents differ if active measures to align understanding do not take place.

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Robert L. Cantrell
Robert L. Cantrell

A patent strategist, Robert Cantrell is the author of “Outpacing the Competition: Patent-Based Business Strategy” and “Understanding Sun Tzu on the Art of War”.

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