Big data and its big business impact

Big data is the buzzword of the moment.  Defined as high volume, high velocity and high variety information assets, big data helps businesses to make better business decisions.  Millions of patent documents are filed and updated each week and with no signs of slowing down it is crucial for businesses to implement techniques for improved patent management, investing in the information and analyses big patent data can provide.

Patents are a form of IP protection that can legally block competitors, but they also have the potential to be valuable business and financial assets.  For market participants, patent data can provide direct insight into where competitors are strategically– which industries are they focusing on?  What innovations are being investigated?  If you know this, you can undercut the competition.

Patent data refers to large amounts of information and with close to 100 million patent documents in existence, it is not in short supply.  However, patent data is often considered to be in formats that are difficult to read and in a ‘patent language’ that needs professional interpretation.  Where do you begin to break down substantial volumes of raw data?  With no obvious ties to more common business data, deriving insights requires sophisticated big data analysis.

Big data is still a relatively new discovery and can be difficult to understand.  However, there are a number of tools available to help decipher large volumes of information.  Big data services can optimise certain data sets and create specialised analysis tools for this data.  Technology teams dedicated to specific data sets can curate and improve patent data by learning the specifics of that data and how best to analyse it, creating self-service tools that are far more useful than generic big data technologies.  Patents are live documents capable of changing over time. Big data services must keep up with constant patent updates – even after a patent is finalised and issued it can still be assigned to a new owner, reclassified or attached to a patent family.

When patent information is unlocked through big data techniques and analysis, insights can reveal the direction a technology is heading, or reveal the whole roadmap for a specific company’s product plans.  Acting as “technology indicators”- patent data provides detailed coverage of technologies and their lifecycles.  Businesses can utilise this rich information to inform decisions at every stage of patent portfolio management.  Big data analysis can improve the targeting of investments and increase their value.  Armed with in-depth knowledge of competitor patents, decision-makers can answer board-level questions: “Is our portfolio more advanced than that of our competition?” “Is our IP protected?”

Big data technologies incorporate data sets to inform decision makers at an appropriate time, such as when they are assessing budgets or company productivity, making decisions more proactive.  With improved industry insight too, businesses can optimise all phases of industry exploration, innovation and production.  With unique context and guidance for your business decisions, big data will make your patent lifecycle even more valuable.