|November 1, 2012|
Previously published on October 30, 2012
The use of intellectual property in a business can result in a tremendous competitive advantage. In light of this, it is imperative that the intellectual property be crafted to create the greatest possible opportunity. This requires an analysis of several key areas to engineer the portfolio.
Initially to synthesize a portfolio, an identification of needs in the marketplace is required. This identification will result in product differentiation typically on a few points. The points relate to certain features of the differentiated product all of which have technology drivers. As an example, a point of differentiation may be ease of interface by a user for a particular product. A technology driver for this would be an intuitive user interface. A review of the patent landscape in this area would delineate what patents are related to the interface. This information obviously stratifies into what has already been patented, is being done by way of the publications and what has been done from the older developments in the field. Collectively analyzed, the conclusion will identify the strength of the patenting opportunity that exists for the technology driver, our intuitive user interface.
Generally, the opportunity will vary from high to low potential. Having identified the potential as high, for example would indicate that patent protection should be sought, whereas low potential would be more effectively handled by "licensing in", i.e. seeking a license to use/manufacture from another party. Prior to finalizing a licensing strategy, it is advisable to conduct a freedom to operate study in which the existing and active patents are reviewed for potential infringement by entry into the same market. This is the final step to confidently determine which patent opportunities should be pursued and which should be licensed.
By executing a strategy along these lines, a product can enter the marketplace as a tailored item to take advantage of the existing market without having to encounter the challenges of trying to establish a new market. Other significant benefits flow from this strategy. By the review of the existing patents and publications other potential business relationships may become apparent such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions among others. In addition, the future direction of the technology can be predicted to provide a temporal competitive advantage.
The strategy outlined takes a committed and disciplined approach, however the dividends paid far exceed the unfortunate route of simply obtaining a patent for something that is perceived by the inventor different from a myopic study.
Identifying needs in the marketplace translate into product differentiation. This is contemporaneously coupled with an analysis of the technology landscape. From this, the technology drivers can be realized with a patent landscape review with the IP drivers becoming apparent as this will determine where the IP opportunity for exploitation exists.