Perhaps one of the most active areas in the forever evolving patent databases is the sphere computer technology and semiconductors. With the sheer volume of R&D in happening in this space today, patent offices world over are busy with new patents constantly being filed. It’s a constant and tedious process for the companies, researchers, legal departments and the patent offices but IP is an integral part of the technology industry.
WIPO statistics around the 2008 world patent report indicate:
In 2005, a large number of patent filings were filed across the world in computer technology (144,594), telecommunications (116,770), and electrical machinery (121,350) technologies. Between 2001 and 2005, patent filings in computer technology, optics, and semiconductors grew by 5.3%, 5.0% and 4.9%, a year, respectively. There was a modest increase in pharmaceuticals filings (1.7%) and a decrease in biotechnology filings (-2.7%).
Electrical engineering, which includes computer technology, telecommunications, electrical machinery, apparatus, energy and audio-visual technology, was the most active technical sector according to the number of patent applications. A high number of applications were also filed in the fields of optics and medical technology.
Between 2001 and 2005, patent applications in the fields of computer technology, optics and semiconductors grew by relatively high percentages. Patent applications in the fields of IT methods for management, analysis of biological materials and chemical engineering, on the other hand, decreased during the same period.
This level of activity and the race to protect IP makes it even more critical for researchers and companies to keep a constant watch on what is going on around them. With so many new patents being filed each day it’s a crowded space and one needs to be careful not to step on others toes or at least be aware of where they stand in this maze of IP landmines. At least, that’s what it could seem like to a researcher with the daunting task of looking through thousands of patents at every step of their working day. A little help from superior text mining technology, the right patent analysis software and technology companies can make the task seem a lot easier.
With the need to increase the quality of new patent filings while keeping a check on the costs, patent analysis software has come a long way within the computer technology and semiconductor arena saving companies from what could be very expensive mistakes. Simply having access to a patent database and looking up a few records of relevant topics isn’t enough. Average number of results per search are continuously rising and its common to land up with 400+ records for a specific search as opposed to say 100-200 records a couple of years back.With these numbers, its very easy to miss a critical piece of information which can effect a companies research and development, their chances of having a new patent application approved and in more extreme cases, render their entire research initiative useless by coming across a major road block set up by a rival. Missing these small bits of information can be expensive.
The advances in text mining technology and patent analysis software have significantly reduced these risks and help technology companies in their IP research process. Clustering tools significantly cut down the time taken to narrow down to topics of interest in bigger result sets. This not only helps you focus on a smaller set of relevant patents which need to be studied before proceeding with any research or filing, but they also help “understand” and help uncover other related topics or areas which could easily have been missed out and may pose a major challenge later in the process. The software can also be trained to show results based on researchers preferences more intelligently which can actually help make the whole process more efficient.
Being informed and having the right intelligence to back your decisions is much easier when you have the right tools to interpret the data and provide the exact information you seek. In the computer technology industry such tools can make working life better by reducing frustration associated with large patent sets and increasing productivity, both at the same time.