If you could get a preview into what your biggest competitor was planning, wouldn’t you take that opportunity? Too many companies either have no idea they can see everything their competitors are patenting or they don’t realize how helpful that information can be.
We talk all the time about using patents as a crystal ball so you can avoid being “ubered,” but that’s not the only reason you should be watching the patent landscape. Here are three more benefits of monitoring your competitors’ patents.
Identify New Market Opportunities
While we’ve often advocated for watching patents to see what’s being done, there’s also the possibility of seeing what’s not being done in a particular space. By watching the patents from around the world, learning which markets your competitors enter and which ones they don’t, you can begin to develop products and technologies within the white space left behind.
You can also determine when the market is too crowded for particular products when you see that several patent applications have been filed for similar technology. Whether you’re looking to introduce the next product so you can maintain your market share or you’re a smaller company hoping to disrupt the big guys, knowing what’s already out there is key.
In some cases, you may even discover the ability to move into or extend within a particular space where patent applications have been filed. For example, if a competitor “abandons” pending patent applications in an area, there is a good chance that they have decided not to enter that area. Still others may choose not to pay the patent renewal fees when they become due, leaving the patent to expire.
Identify Potential Infringement Cases
Whether inventors mean to or not, it’s possible to infringe upon existing technology when you sell a product or service that is covered in whole or in part by an existing issued patent. By watching the applications put forth, you can protect your intellectual property through identification of patents that hit too close to home.
With the information you gather, you can then determine if monetization opportunities are available, such as licensing or even selling your own patents. In many cases, you could even obtain an exclusive license, such as the 1-Click model licensed to Apple by Amazon.
Identify Changes to Your Business Strategy
With an idea of the patents already in existence and those applied for, you can begin to develop new strategies for your own business. There is always the chance you have patents sitting unused that could be revitalized into new products when you see the technology has shifted in your favor. You may also discover you have patents that could be monetized as you learn which companies are developing technology within a particular space.
Perhaps even more useful, you can determine when you should sell your patents, either as part of a portfolio or individually to companies that are making strides with similar technology. Why continue to maintain expensive patents when you could monetize them and encourage innovation at the same time?
At IPVision, we always have our eye on the patent landscape. We can help you determine what any one of your competitors are doing at any given time. Even better, we can help you discover the quality of the patents both owned and filed, as well as the quality of the intellectual property you already own. It’s only with a full view of the patent landscape that you can move forward with innovation. Let us help you find the right path.