Get to the IP Intelligence That Counts
You don’t need me to tell you that patent data plays a critical role in making better decisions. For years, after all, high-performing companies have used this information to influence all manner of business decisions—from product and technology investments, to defensive strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and more.
But while our reliance on patent data is nothing new, what has changed are our needs and expectations. We no longer have the time (nor the resources) to pull and correlate patent data from multiple systems. We can’t ignore the growing patent data available in international jurisdictions. And we have to be able to analyze our internal private matters alongside the external global patent landscape to be able to accurately assess the situation.
It’s a constant challenge. How do you gather all the relevant data necessary to address your key questions using only the resources and time you have at your disposal? And how do you filter that data down to what matters most quickly enough to make a decision—and without falling into the trap of information overload?
The Cost of Information Overload
Most business decisions require a synthesis of information from many different stakeholders and subject matter experts. Most of these decisions also require a plethora of internal data: financials, market share, partnership contract details, inventor disclosures, whitepapers, and more.
Combining all the data above into something comprehendible is hard and largely manual work. Imagine having all of your organization’s smartest people export data from multiple systems and then compile it into reports that the C-suite can actually use to inform capital investments. This kind of work can take weeks or even months.
But does it have to? What would it mean to your organization if you could shave weeks or months off the time it takes to gather business-critical data? The opportunity cost of business as usual is high—especially when it’s calculated across all the various functions and roles that rely on internal and external IP data to make decisions.
The Process: A Path to Perfect Patent Data
Take, for example, a quarterly document review of annuities payments. Today, many companies approach this as follows:
- Patents due for review are pulled into Excel from the docketing systems. The list(s) appropriate metadata like dates and links to patent PDFs. This could be a single sheet or many, often broken out by business units, technical reviewer, and responsible attorney. Breaking down the portfolio into reviewer lists in a matrixed organization is a challenge. Legal, technical, and business concerns can also require different portfolio division. One technical reviewer, for instance, could get overlapping lists from two different business units that require reviewing the same asset using different criteria.
- Each business unit and each technical reviewer gets their respective lists to review, rate, and return. Guidance and execution can be inconsistent. Individual format changes might complicate their reassembly into a master list. Tracking progress is troublesome, with certain individuals causing delays. Meanwhile, mistakes caused by outdated information can lead to multiple versions of the same list.
- Additional review may be required. Legal, technical, and business value can run “orthogonal” to each other. Consolidation around an overall strategy may prove problematic.
In all, this can be a four- to six-week process, with variable quality, depending on the portfolio size and individual expertise. Impact can extend for years or even be permanent, because, once surrendered, rights can be difficult (or impossible) to reestablish. Also important: How much of the time adds value versus being administrative in nature? These people are often important resources for your enterprise and the “opportunity cost” of this time is significant.
Integrated Data and Workflows: Less Administration. More Informed Decisions.
Contrast the approach above to one in which the same basic internal data is already attached to your company’s portfolio from the global public record. The relevant information is made broadly available to the reviewers, along with access to analytics tools to help them understand how their portfolio is positioned within the broader IP landscape. The result?
- No need to pull lists. In the tool, analysts can search and directly pull patents by business unit or product line, and filter by date. If there are professional searchers, they can set up all the searches and alerts, automate them, and have lists directly delivered to the analysts.
- Review and comments can be stored in projects and directly shared, so the lists are complete, deduped, and organized. The progress can be monitored using live data in real time, so the portfolio manager can periodically check the progress and gain an early understanding of whether the work should be reallocated.
- Real-time cost modeling. If cost or value numbers are attached to the individual patent documents, that data can easily be used for a bottom-up build for cost, based on the documents in each portfolio.
Higher Quality, Lower Cost Decisions
With the lower administrative overhead, this process can likely be completed in a couple of weeks rather than the previously typical four to six. Imagine eliminating an extra one or two weeks’ worth of work from each person in the process each quarter. With a process that requires input from 20 to 30 people, that equals years of time you can reclaim. By simply including all the information to make the decision in a single tool, much of the need for manual manipulation disappears. If you actually integrate the tools, you can also remove the need to consistently update two systems, which means no additional work or administration.
Combining patent and business data has been so difficult, we’ve come to rely on only one or the other. How many business decisions can actually be made with only publicly available patent data, or with only internal where-used information? By combining all the data you need to drive to a business decision in one tool, your business can make better legal, technical, and business decisions while also giving back time to high-value employees so they can focus on high-value work.
- Blog: The Evolution of Patent Search and Patent Analytics Software
- White Paper: IP Decisions are Strategy Decisions
- Video: Better Decisions
- Product Information: The Innography Difference
- Blog: 7 Things to Consider When Choosing IP Search and Analysis Software