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Written by Joe Khurana

5 Steps to Identify and Analyze IP and Patent Acquisition Targets


Some of the biggest news in the past few years regarding IP and patents hasn’t come from innovation but rather from acquisition of innovation. One of the most-discussed was Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp, a free messaging app for mobile devices, that closed for $19 billion.

The big question on everyone’s lips was this: Why would Facebook, which has its own robust messaging system and also costs nothing to users, want to purchase a less popular product with fewer bells and whistles? Even now, reports state that Facebook has lost money on the deal, but they’re still pleased as punch with their purchase.

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Written by Joe Khurana

How to Beat Competitors to the Market Through IP Intelligence

When you want examples for how long it can take to lose your market share before you notice you’re in trouble, examine the American car manufacturing landscape. And, if you want examples of how permanent—or semi-permanent, at the very least—that loss of market share can be, again, there is no better example than Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.

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Written by Joe Khurana

How Can I Use IP to Mitigate Corporate Risk?

When most people think about mitigating corporate risk with IP and patents, long, drawn-out court battles often come to mind. All too often, companies begin considering how patent information can help them avoid risk when they’ve already encountered that risk. Let’s get in front of the problem.

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Written by Joe Khurana

How Recognizing Disruptive Innovations Could Save Your Business

Remember some of the biggest companies of the last thirty years? We bet you had a Nintendo game system, complete with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt games. You probably went to Blockbuster on Friday nights. You probably had a Blackberry phone and marveled at the ability to simply check your email by phone. All these things were so amazing that they couldn’t possibly be improved upon, right? 

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Written by Joe Hadzima

Ramesh Raskar is the 2016 Lemelson-MIT Prize Winner

The Lemelson-MIT Awards Committee announced that the 2016 Winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize is Ramesh Raskar, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab.

According to The Lemelson-MIT Program the Prize "recognizes individuals who translate their ideas into inventions and innovations that improve the world in which we live....Dubbed the "Oscar for Inventors," the Lemelson-MIT Prize is awarded to outstanding mid-career inventors who have developed a patented product or process of significant value to society, which has been adopted for practical use, or has a high probability of being adopted.

Dr. Raskar joined the Media Lab from Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories in 2008 as head of the Lab's Camera Culture research group.  His research interests span the fields of computational photography, inverse problems in imaging, and human-computer interaction.  MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture Group focuses on making the invisible visible–inside our bodies, around us, and beyond–for health, work, and connection.  The goal is to create an entirely new class of imaging platforms that have an understanding of the world that far exceeds human ability and produce meaningful abstractions that are well within human comprehensibility.  The group conducts multi-disciplinary research in modern optics, sensors, illumination, actuators, probes and software processing.  This work ranges from creating novel feature-revealing computational cameras and new lightweight medical imaging mechanisms, to facilitating positive social impact via the next billion personalized cameras.  See: MIT Technology Review for articles and stories about his work.

Patent Portfolio Interconnection Map of Raskar Patents

As of August 2016 Professor Raskar was listed as an inventor on 71 issued U.S. patents and 26 published pending U.S. patent applications.

This IPVision Patent Portfolio Interconnection Map shows the U.S. patents and applications of Ramesh Raskar and the citation relationships within the portfolio.  Note: Click on the Patent Map Image to View an Interactive Patent Map

The Raskar patents have been cited by 805 other U.S. patents owned by companies such as Microsoft (82 patents), Adobe Systems (53 patents), Seiko Epson (46 patents), Fotonation (38 patents) and Canon (26 patents) among a total of 225 organizations holding patents that cite one or more of Dr. Raskar's U.S. patent properties.

IPVision Report Provided to Lemelson-MIT Prize Committee

IPVision provided the Lemelson-MIT Prize Committee with patent analysis reports on each of the semi-finalist and finalist nominees for the 2016 Lemelson-MIT Prize.   Obtain a free copy of the IPVision Patent Analysis Report on Ramesh Raskar.

Know Your Enemies: The Importance of Competitor Analysis

In today’s knowledge-based economy, virtually any business will benefit from understanding competitors’ product innovations and the true value of their patent portfolios. In fact, to be successful in today’s marketplace requires solid understanding of competitive intellectual property strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) that exist.

If you’re a business operating in a highly competitive marketplace or technology segment, conducting a comprehensive and accurate SWOT analysis of competitors who have IP in your space is critical for identifying potential vulnerabilities as well as opportunities. This systematic, legal collection and analysis of competitive SWOT information using competitor IP analysis is a rapidly-growing field known as competitive intelligence (CI) and it is valuable for not only discovering the intentions of competitors, but identifying potential partners as well.

When analyzing any technological development, the first real evidence of a new product or process is often a published patent document such as a patent application. Patents and other forms of IP are often good indicators of technological areas and innovations in which competitors are interested and involved.

Much like prey being tracked in the wild, patents leave a trail that can be tracked. CI uses patent data to create a picture of a competitor’s activities and put them in a larger context within the marketplace. Sophisticated competitor analysis can follow the trail of a patent, or group of patents, segmenting them into specific technology sectors and identifying the spaces in which the competitor has a strong or weak position, where the competitor is currently focusing R&D efforts, and how it might impact your business. Competitive analysis is not so much about comparing products or technologies as it is about assessing competitive strengths and weaknesses.

Patent CI essentially provides you with the knowledge of where your competitors have been, where they are currently, and where they’re headed. Competitor analysis can reveal:
  • The most prolific inventors in your space
  • The competitions’ most recent patents and patent applications
  • Competitors’ most active technological areas
  • The countries in which the competition most often seeks patent protection for their inventions
  • Which patents have expired or been reassigned to other companies or individuals
  • What competitive patent applications are pending at which patent offices

By utilizing competitor analysis tools to obtain information about important competitors and using that information to predict their behavior you can formulate a more effective IP strategy to protect your existing revenue streams and to launch new product and revenue initiatives.

Try Our Patent Analytics Tools

Gaining a Business Advantage Through IP Analysis

The amount of patent data available for analysis has grown exponentially in just the past few years, and for good reason. Advances in data mining technology and techniques as well as the increasingly rapid development of new technologies in general have fueled Intellectual Property (IP) sales and licensing activities in virtually every industry, domestically and internationally.

With these growing volumes of available patent information, patent search and analysis has become a crucial tool for companies to strengthen and grow their businesses and gain a competitive advantage. The job of searching, finding, organizing, and analyzing all this data is increasingly falling to automated analytical tools. Sophisticated algorithms are used to power data mining and visualization techniques such as our proprietary interactive patent mapping. This can provide dynamic, virtually real-time visualizations of the relationships between patents and developing technological trends, both of which can provide valuable insights for creating IP-based business and competitive strategies.

Comprehensive IP analysis is an ideal way to gather business information and intelligence that can help businesses discover:
  • Empty technological space ripe for innovation
  • Existing portfolio gaps
  • Strengths and weaknesses in competitive IP
  • Technology “infringements”
  • Litigation activities
  • Patent portfolio status of merger or acquisition targets to help determine fit
  • IP vulnerabilities that need to be addressed
In fact, failure to employ intellectual property analytics can put a business at substantial risk. Embarking on a significant product development project or introducing new products into an existing marketplace without adequate prior IP analysis can result in costly infringement lawsuits and business delays.

A truly effective business strategy based on robust IP analysis is one that not only protects a core technology to create a significant competitive barrier but also protects key product features that help differentiate a product from others in the marketplace and create added customer value. An effective IP-based business strategy will utilize key product features to create a protective patent minefield around a product and its features, effectively hobbling any competitor.

Almost as important as the patents a company uses are the ones they don’t use. Businesses with significant patent portfolios often overlook the potential of unused IP. Intellectual property analysis can determine novelty and unrealized value in neglected patents which can be turned into new sources of revenue through licensing or sale.

The value of intellectual property is growing by leaps and bounds in our evolving, knowledge-based economy. Winners and losers will be determined by those who have effective IP-based strategies and those who don’t.

Discovering IP Value With Analytics

blog-analytical-tools-analytics.jpgIntellectual property (IP) is the core asset of many companies, especially those in technology-based industries. Discovering the true value of IP – both as a company asset and as a competitive weapon – is crucial for overall business success. Gaining insights into IP value can lead to new revenue sources such as licensing opportunities, new product development, and strategic partnerships. It can also aid the development of a competitive business strategy by helping to determine a patent’s -- or an entire portfolio’s -- effect on competitors and the marketplace in general. By gaining critical competitive insights into the patent landscape, you can better identify disruptive innovation opportunities to increase revenues and create competitive roadblocks.

All of this points to the need for comprehensive and proactive IP management. A good IP management program results in a patent portfolio that maximizes a technology’s strength and leverages it to protect and expand market share and increase profitability. This requires sophisticated, technology-based analytics that can reveal the full IP landscape, put patents into context, and deliver, real, actionable business intelligence at the beginning of corporate strategy formulation.

Critical business decisions involving technology and product development as well as mergers and acquisitions must be based on timely and accurate business information, especially IP evaluation – yours, the competition’s, or the target’s, as the case may be. Systematic data gathering, management, and analysis of the marketplace and the IP landscape is now known as “business intelligence” and intellectual property analytics can provide a great deal of intelligence about a competitor’s or acquisition target’s strategy.

With the right analytical tools, you can:

Identify competitors or collaborators Subject search results can be visualized with patent landscape maps (see below) to compare gross numbers of patents held by competing companies and their positions in the marketplace. Results can also be weighted in a number of ways to reveal competitive strength, such as in favor of inventions with counterpart filings in other countries, since that might suggest a larger R&D budget and greater technology value than an invention protected in a single country. Finding complementary IP through subject searches can uncover potential collaborators and strategic partners to help block competitors and gain greater marketshare.

Accurately analyze patent quality Patent citation has long been a traditional way of assessing IP value – the more a patent is cited, the more valuable and important it is. However, simple citation counting offers limited insight into the true worth of a patent and reveals little if anything about the relationship between patents. It’s more important to evaluate patents in context. At IPVision, our Relative Citation Frequency process not only looks at the number of citations given to a specific patent, but ranks that patent in comparison to all others of similar age in the same technology category. This process accurately qualifies the citation count based on patent age and technology segment far beyond simple citation counting.

Understand IP relationships better through interactive patent mapping Unlike traditional static patent maps, interactive maps provide a much richer, dynamic context for patent analysis. They can better reveal citation references to and from single patents or sets of patents and show legally-related patent filings and grants across priority and legal relationships.

As a bonus, mapping technologies by patent classifications and filings from specific countries is a great way to analyze developing markets, track the birth of new technologies, and discover market trends.

(NOTE: Our exclusive interactive patent map visualization tools are unique to the industry – they make it easy to understand the technology landscape and the relationship between patents. Unlike traditional static patent maps, our interactive maps provide a much richer, dynamic context for patent analysis.)

A good IP manager must communicate well with stakeholder groups in your organization and have a complete understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the IP portfolio to capitalize on it strategically and profitably. Intellectual property analysis using sophisticated, technology-based analytics is the key to discovering true IP value.

8 steps for a successful business acquisition

blog-business-acquisition.jpgBusiness acquisition can be a territory fraught with danger, high risk, and emotion. Often decisions are made with a surprising lack of hard data, based largely on “gut feel” and “synergy”, and little else. Intellectual Property (IP) analysis should play a large role in any business acquisition or merger consideration– in fact, it should be at the forefront of any due diligence activities to establish if the acquisition is even worth pursuing. But before we discuss that, let’s examine some of the fundamental criteria that can help ensure the financial success of an acquisition.


Merger and Acquisition Due Diligence: Assessing Intellectual Property

A company’s intellectual property (IP) is one of its most valuable assets. It’s important to thoroughly assess an acquisition’s patent portfolio to better gauge its potential investment value. The larger purpose of acquisition due diligence, of course, is to prove any assumptions, confirm information received (or perceived), and to gather the right information that enables informed decisions to be made concerning company acquisition.



Create a patent landscape map

Patent citation analysis that makes it simple to explore complex relationships with a visual guide