Analyzing Increasingly Large Patent Sets To Fuel Innovation Of Tomorrow

The backed up patent applications at most patent offices and long waits to process new applications may be annoying for most inventors and businesses alike but it amplifies just how fast innovation is happening today as compared to a decade or two ago.

Perhaps one of the most significant drivers for this pace is information technology and the instant availability of the vast existing knowledge base (patent and journal databases) for scientists and innovators to build on it. While researching and analyzing past technologies has always been a part of the process for those on a quest to discover something new, the process in the past relied on the ability to go through vast amounts of information manually, carry out analysis and then use that knowledge to take things to the next level. The same process applies today but the speed at which existing knowledge can be analyzed has been increasing tremendously.

For example, if one is looking for alternatives to fossil fuels and traditional energy sources the first phase would involve going through past efforts to understand what’s been done, then looking for patterns, gaps and opportunities within that data and finally being able to find a direction to focus your research or investigation on. Prior to advancements in text processing and software in general, this involved gathering and sifting through piles of existing patents and journal citations. However the sheer number of patents alone (> 5000) that exist in alternative energy technology as well as patents indirectly related to these, the older procedure can take weeks, months or longer

Organizing IP Research across different technology verticals of interest is a pressing need for corporate IP practitioners. A in-depth research and analysis effort which used to take a long time can now effectively done used advanced search and fast scanning tools present in patent analysis and research platforms. Being able to quickly report on different technologies, integrate feedback from sales and R&D into your IP research and present a unified output is now possible by the use of such solutions.

Knowledge management in the IP and innovation space is getting better and quicker everyday. With it, the kind of analyzed and precise information that research teams can have access to is revolutionizing the speed at which companies innovate and thereby giving them an edge over their competition. While this isn’t helping the situation at the patent offices with the back logs of applications there is still a brighter side to it for innovators: there are quick and efficient ways to get insights from large reference information sets and build a better tomorrow.

Interactive Intellectual Property Research Delivery – and Paperless too

A very recently published article by David Flint and Valerie Surgenor titled “United Kingdom: Innovators Encouraged To Go Paperless” emphasizes the calls from various governments around the world in recent times to cut down on paper intensive work processes. This measure in the UK comes just as Gene Quinn’s IP Watchdog carried a post titled “President Obama Call USPTO Filling System Embarrassing” where Gene points out:

“Essentially, President Obama said that the way the Patent Office handles electronically filed patent applications is to print them and scan them. Sadly, that is not true, or is at least extremely misleading. It is certainly true that the Patent Office used to do things that way, but since the new EFS Web system was unveiled on March 16, 2006, electronically filed patent applications are not printed and then scanned.”

The Intellectual Property research process, albeit different from patent office work, is also a data intensive one and in recent times appears to be moving towards electronic and interactive outputs as opposed to paper based reports or static PDFs.

At Patent iNSIGHT Pro, we see a similar trends. Analysts who used the product two years back to prepare reports in Word/Excel/PDFs/PowerPoint are now asking for enterprise class implementations where they can set up online dashboard for the information consumers. This is as true for in-house counsels, as it is for service providers who want to give secure access to such interactive dashboards to their clients.

When it comes to IP research, speed is of the essence as is access to those within an organization who need it. Whether needed by management, product development teams, legal team or business development teams, the need to get the information required and a live dashboard with built in analytics features of drill-down and filtering goes well to serve the needs of multiple different people. While working with static reports this is severe road block.  Usually when CxOs are presented with the research output they would have further questions and its very convenient and effective if they can quickly answer that right then from a real-time interactive dashboard.

All taken into consideration while reducing paper usage is a good enough reason to start shifting towards more automated means of managing all the research being done, it’s not the only reason to consider it. Automated delivery of research output and interactive analytics at the front end is clearly the way forward and cannot be achieved if the research is scattered across in physical documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other documents