Patent analysis tools though all geared to deliver information and intelligence around patents are often different in terms of their features and capabilities. How do you know what features to look for in a solution that would help your organization? Here is a brief overview of the various important features found in most comprehensive patent data analysis tools and what components to look out for during the evaluation process.
In most cases the search has already been done on a database, so why would you want search in an analysis solution? Searching is usually a requirement for custom portfolio categorization and further its critical when conducting deeper analysis such as infringement or FTO. Even when looking at a chart, its important to be able to immediately drill-down from the chart and search through the segmented portion to get to the answer or insight you seek. Finally, many a time you have your custom fields such as Docket Ids, tags, comments etc associated with each record and you would like to include these in your search.
Patent Text Mining functions
When working with sets of 10000 records or more if you want to quickly understand what locate topics of interest or sometimes even understand which topics are prominent across the set and what sub-topics they are associated with, a powerful tunable auto-categorization engine is a must. Solutions that are created specifically for mining and clustering patent text are better suited than more general text mining solutions. Generating keyword lists and using such list for statistical analysis is another popular method used to gain insights on trends across companies, inventors and their patents.
Some of the capabilities that should be covered are co-occurrence matrices, generating top 10/20/50 lists and citation analytics. Together they help analyze relationships and spot trends within a certain space and lifecycles of technologies and more. Drilling-down to the actual patents from any of the functions is key. It’s always good to get a few analytics questions that your organization has, tested and verified using the analytics capabilities so that you are sure if the solution is up to the task of handling your patent intelligence needs.
Charting and Visualization
Converting the results from patent analysis into a powerful visual or graphical representation with ease is a definite must. In many cases exporting visuals to image files is critical so that they can be reused in your reports or power-points. A good visualization and reporting component helps convey the insight easily without any need for explanation. Powerful visuals necessitate actions from the information consumers typically senior management and result in swift decision making.
Generating different styles of reports to suit varying needs across an organization is perhaps the most common activity. Support for a wide range of flexible report types is useful with output format as word or excel so that the user can modify the report as per needs after it has been generated.
User Interface & Ease of Use
There is always a fine balance between having a feature loaded analytics software tools packed to the brim with options and one that is easy to use even for someone with relatively little experience of patent information. A good solution in this respect is one that has a relatively easy to use user interface which one can get familiar with in a short time and at the same time have the flexibility and options to allow the user to customize features, options and the environment that they will be working with regularly when any patent analysis has to be done. A very easy to use interface may not always give you that flexibility and range of customization while an extremely complex interface may defeat the purpose and make the process of analyzing data more tedious rather than easier. Look out for an interface which gives you both ease of use along with flexibility of options.
Apart from the above some of the other capabilities to look for are data export features, associating your own custom fields with patent data, rating or scoring system and performance at 10000+ record levels.