“The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” Sir William Bragg


  • How R&D intensive companies can use patent information to increase productivity and mitigate risks


    Is it possible and affordable to monitor patent applications globally as a small high-tech company where avoiding infringement means life or death?

    I’ve often been told by patent experts that R&D engineers can’t or are reluctant to extract, for them, important information from patent documents. I recently read a blog from European Patent Organisation saying that “Involving IP specialists in the early R&D stage can improve patent protection for commercial applications”

    I have experienced differently. I would say that there are several R&D engineers out there who are very interested in getting information on the latest technology and are capable of interpreting technical information in patents. I would also argue that it would be a significant improvement in making money out of inventions, if R&D engineers are involved in IP in the early R&D stage – before involving IP specialists. The following story can prove this.

    Avoiding infringement when entering new markets and technologies key pain

    In New York, at the US Innovate46 event some time ago, we met the CEO for a SaaS start-up, active in a fast-moving field of technology. He told us that they only protect the inventions that can be commercialized but was not sure how to proceed with protection of developments. He also said that there were several other solutions out there that solved the same problem, but in another way. Freedom to operate was another issue. “How can we be sure not to infringe other companies’ rights when entering markets like US, the CEO asked?” By the end of the dinner the same day, we concluded:

    that there are several players on the market concerning the same technology that they need to monitor and, the company need to:

    1. make sure not to infringe other companies’ rights, and
    2. ensure to be well ahead of competitors in R&D and protect developments and new inventions.

    The company has several patents in their portfolio. We wanted to know how they managed to keep up with competitors filing patents covering similar solutions. The CEO told us that they perform individual patent searches in free patent databases with certain intervals. Not every week, not even every other week, but when they had the time for it. This was their monitoring of competitors’ patents for the time being. The interesting patent documents were stored in pdf format in folders. Documents that were seldom studied, since pdfs are “dead” documents - they become uninteresting the minute you download them since it becomes impossible to follow the changes in legal status. This process was both time consuming and risky. The collaboration between R&D people on patent documents was practically zero.

    So, this CEO wanted to know if they could get any support from us, considering that the company was a start-up with limited resources and limited knowledge in patents.

    Is it possible and affordable to monitor patent applications globally as a small high-tech company where avoiding infringement means life or death?

    We offered them the IamIP Platform and supported them in setting up automatic search alerts to track patent activity for competitors and technology. The platform enabled them to create real-time processes for collaboration by sharing search alerts, documents and commenting amongst the R&D engineers. They could also by monitor critical patents have a better view of competitors’ protected inventions. Today they have a more time and cost-efficient R&D process, including patent knowledge, and can easily keep an eye on critical patents. When the CTO reports quarterly to management there is always an element of business intelligence from patent information including latest trends on competition in patents.

    This company and many others I’ve met and collaborated with, are fully capable of, and interested in, handling patent information to capture the most up-to-date relevant competitive intelligence for their business.

    According to our customers, the IamIP Platform is user-friendly and focus strongly on collaboration between different professions in a company. You can easily set up search alerts on competitors and/or technology:

    Screendump iamip patent search

    The platform enables you to send patent documents of interest to both external and internal users. It is also possible to store and retrieve all patent activity in one place – centralized for the whole company so that users from the same business unit or function can work together easily.

    Dynamic collaboration

    Bring the insights and talents of your entire team to your innovation efforts - contact us today and book a free demo.

    Written by Christina Nordstrom

About the blog

The blog will share business insights based on our experience about how to manage intellectual property assets and rights in a smart way. We will also share best practice from working with the world's most innovative companies. Get to know IamIP better by following our key events from our entrepreneurial journey aiming at revolutionising the intellectual property world.

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