A Patent landscape report is also called as State of the Art report which is built to extract useful insights about patenting activities of a specific technology in a particular geographic location(s). As per World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), “patent landscape reports (PLRs) provide a snap-shot of the patent situation of a specific technology, either within a given country or region, or globally. They can inform policy discussions, strategic research planning or technology transfer. They may also be used to analyze the validity of patents based on data about their legal status”.
How does one perform a patent landscape analysis?
Step 1: Research the technical aspects of your topic
The creation of a patent landscape report starts with the proper understanding of the technology or proper acquaintances with the respective technology. The best way to understand a particular technology is by reading appropriate online resources and news that are relevant to that technology. For example, if you wish to create a landscape report on “Flexible Electronic Display” then the very first step would be to know how does a flexible electronic display work, how is it different from LED and/or LCD. What are the different layers it is made up of and how does the technology can benefit end users.
Such information can be collected through various press releases, new paper cuttings, blogs, and various other sources. For example, if you wish to understand what a flexible electronic display technology is all about and how it works then below are some of the links that can help you understand these in details.
Though, directly these are not related with your patent landscape report but with these, you will be able to gain some valuable insights about the technology that will help you create an outstanding landscape report down the line.
Step 2: Understand the need of the client
Landscape reports can be of various types and thus there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for every report. Hence, it is very important to understand what your respective client is looking for and you will have to create your landscape report accordingly.
For example, some clients will be willing to know the patent activities in that technology in a particular geography or location, some will be bothered only about the portfolios of those companies that are patenting in that domain, some will be looking for investment opportunities available in that technology domain, some will wish to know how active their competitors are in that technology domain, some will wish to know the chronological development of a particular technology and some will seek a mix of above mentioned information.
Whichever the case may be you will have to understand the need of your client first and then will have to proceed accordingly.
Step 3: Define the scope of the landscape search
Defining the scope of a patent landscape search would be critical in the overall process of report generation, because, without this you may end up with mountains of information with no meaning. It is the scope that determines how accurate and precise your report will be. There are various parameters on the basis of which the scope of the landscape report can be evaluated, some of which are mentioned below:
- Country coverage
- Time period coverage
- Patent family coverage
- Technology coverage
- Sub-technology coverage
Step 4: Formulating a patent search strategy for identifying documents
Formulating a patent search strategy is another critical aspect that should be addressed by patent analysis wherein they need to define various patent and non-patent sources to gather the respective data. You can gather data from the U.S.P.T.O. database, from World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) database, and from EPO database. The mentioned databases are country-specific free databases that are available without a fee. Apart from this, there are many paid databases that a searcher may use to make their search more accurate, appropriate and comprehensive.
Step 5: Categorize the collections into a variety of facets
The next step would be to categorize these extracted data into a variety of facets so that you can analyze them as per the need of the report. For example, in case of flexible electronic display technology you can categorize data as follows:
- Leading Manufacturers
- Companies to watch for
- Flexible display patent filings by year
- Flexible display filings by top 10 companies
- Patents by filing type (Display component, Electronic device, Display Panel)
Step 6: Create a report with statistical figures
The last and most important part of doing a landscape analysis are to generate a comprehensive report wherein we are supposed to create a document that is easily interpreted and consumed by human users and the best way to achieve this is by including statistical graphs and figures.