There is no doubt that patents play a crucial role in promoting technological development. However, due to the ever increasing filing of patent applications, patent monitoring can be a daunting task.
Have you ever wondered what is the latest innovation in your field of expertise? Not only for the effort to find partnerships but also, to identify potential competitors or determine if you are free to operate. To stay informed on all levels in this capacity, a formalized program to “patent watch” can provide valuable business intelligence for your company.
What is a patent watch?
A patent watch is a process by which you institute monitoring, over a period of time, patent databases and information about new or existing patents that fall within a specific field of expertise. A patent watch is sometimes extended to non-patent information, depending on which insights you wish to obtain.
Patent watching also allows patent data to be analyzed and visualized in a patent landscape. This landscape would include the patent situation of a specific technology with additional helpful insights such as the applicant, technological trends or geographical coverage.
Competitive intelligence and market opportunities
By regularly monitoring existing patents, valuable insights on your competitors and their latest innovations can be obtained. This information can also help you to identify gaps in your field of expertise. Thus, a patent watch can inspire and influence your R&D activities and may allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and keep your innovation evolving forward.
As well known, patents give you the right to forbid a third party to exploit your invention. The same applies to your competitor’s patents. By knowing existing patents in your field, you can direct R&D and innovation efforts to avoid falling within the scope of your competitors’ patents and mitigate the risk of infringing an existing patent.
Knowing existing competitor’s patents/patent applications also allows you to challenge them. There are effective strategies in patent practices to challenge and hamper your competitor’s existing patents/patent applications such as third-party observations or opposition proceedings to name a few.
Partnership and acquisition potential
Your goal may also entail finding a partner to further develop your innovation. By identifying patents that align with your business goals, you may engage with relevant third parties for collaboration to strengthen your position in the market.
Your patent portfolio
In order to obtain a granted patent for an invention, several requirements must be fulfilled. A first requirement is that the invention is new. Aside from a few exceptions, to be considered new, the invention has not been publicly disclosed anywhere in the world before the patent application is filed. To that end, a patent watch is an excellent tool to keep track of recent patents and publications which might be relevant to your invention, and/or could hamper the patentability of future developments.
Our highly experienced team is eager to assist you with expanding and protecting your intellectual property. Do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Antoine Herbaut – European Patent Attorney