By Edmond White ‑ September 27, 2016
Most companies think that they already understand their competitive ecosystem and believe that they can predict the challenges in front of them. But, in an era of constant technological change, information that was valid last year or last month can lose value and relevance incredibly quickly.
For IP professionals this poses a serious challenge. Not only do you need competitor intelligence, but you need to constantly stay on top of a rapidly changing IP landscape.
Why is competitor intelligence important?
Studying patent activity is an informative way to stay ahead of industry competition. Competitor intelligence can generate insight into worldwide trends in policy, business and technology. By harnessing the power of ‘big’ patent data, organisations can understand specific areas of technology that are experiencing a high volume of patent filings. Armed with this information, an organisation can focus on innovating in areas that will be both on-trend and profitable in the future.
How do I generate competitor intelligence?
CPA Global’s Innovation Intelligence Service helps organisations to successfully navigate the changing IP landscape by producing reports that are both powerfully intelligent and commercially insightful. Innovation Intelligence reports can answer client questions concerning financial data, research publications, legal data, product announcements and start-up funding. It can also reveal exactly in what technology industry competitors are investing in and patenting.
CPA Global’s Innovation Intelligence report on Commercial Manned Spaceflight is an example of the macro-micro insight that patent data can provide in a specific industry. Our Services team analysed 4,300 patents stretching all the way back to the beginning of the space era in the early 1960s. CPA Global discovered a key trend in the commercialisation of space access, particularly in the United States, as well as identifying the companies driving the new trend in the manned spaceflight industry: SpaceX, Boeing and Airbus.
Is a trade secret ever really secret?
Patent analysis produces valuable data because organisations must disclose their ideas and methods when filing for a patent – making any innovation public knowledge. To avoid contributing handing over details of their carefully guarded innovations via this route, some organisations will choose to use trade secrets to protect their IP. However, trade secrets can pose significant risks to organisations. Should a similar technology be produced and patented, it is substantially more difficult to stake ownership, potentially leading to further legal action at the USPTO. For more detail, read about American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX’s “no-IP” approach and their battle with competitor Blue Origin in our Commercial Manned Spaceflight report here.
Competitive intelligence for business success
Operating in any technology-enabled industry is challenging, but keeping ahead of the competition can be an even more daunting task. Patent data, marshalled in the right way can fuel intelligent and valuable insight to empower an organisation’s ambitions to be a market leader. Critically analysing competitors and obtaining this competitive intelligence helps organisations to strategically manage IP, focus innovation on emerging technology trends and identify areas with little innovation for exploitation – meaning the application of big data can directly translate into bigger opportunity.
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