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.