Patent landscaping: To use or not to use automated patent landscape tools?

Patent and technology landscaping are critical for driving successful business strategy today. Automated patent landscape tools can be an efficient way to gain general insights about a technology or patent landscape, but these tools are not sufficient when the stakes are high, and businesses require extreme accuracy.  In this blog post, we examine when automated patent landscape tools are sufficient, as well as the factors that ensure maximum accuracy for high-stakes technology and patent landscapes.

The power of patent technology landscapes

Patent and technology landscapes are the basis for understanding overall trends as well as risks and opportunities in a given area of technology. Based on the patent and technical scientific data available, they provide valuable business insights, revealing information such as the most dominant players in a technology sector and what solutions they provide.

There are two types of landscapes businesses may require for business strategy:

  • Patent landscapes provide a visual of all technology trends and owners based on patents for a given area of technology. 
  • Technology landscapes bring together all the patents and technical articles for a given area of technology, in a visual that reveals technology trends and owners. 

Harnessing the data of a patent/ technology landscape can be extremely valuable, providing an edge over the competition and revealing new technology and business opportunities.

Benefits of automated patent landscape tools

Creating patent and technology landscapes requires searching vast amounts of data such as patents, scientific data and scholarly journals. This can be a time and resource-intensive process to manually search, collect and chart the data in a graph that makes it easy to understand and make decisions.

Automated patent landscape tools can help by searching this data quickly to deliver a basic overview. By entering a few search words, these tools can rapidly plot a visualization that provides a general idea about the patent and technology landscape.

These tools are best for situations that require a general overview when lower accuracy (generally less than 80% accuracy) is sufficient. For example, if a scientist wants to understand what the key technologies are in a new research domain and needs a quick overview on the most important players in that field, automated patent landscape tools provide a fast way to see this information.

Limitations of automated patent landscape tools

Automated patent landscape tools have some limitations that are important to consider. For example, they can miss relevant documents and automated tags that explain the details of the automated set. These tags help make the documents chartable and searchable. Because automated tools use an algorithm to label the documents instead of manual tagging, the tags usually don’t make sense on their own and can lead to inaccurate statistics and charts with blurry results.

In addition, automated patent landscape tools usually only search published patents, missing relevant documents such as research literature and business news.  Data types and sources are limited and vendor specific, dependent on the specific automated landscape tools companies are using.

After conducting a patent or technology landscape search, the final output should be a set of graphs or charts that show the information in a visual format. Visuals have the power to reveal information that might not have been clear through the search alone. The way the information is displayed is critical for decision making.

Automated patent landscape tools are reliant on general templates that may be limited in the way they show information. As described above, these templates are usually sufficient for companies that are looking for a quick big-picture overview of the technology landscape. However, when the stakes are high, having an expert curate these visuals with customized templates can be an important distinction for making strategic decisions.

How to achieve the highest accuracy in technology/patent landscaping

For high-stake use cases with big financial or legal implications, companies need to have complete trust that the data and insights from these patent and technology landscapes are accurate. In these situations, senior managers are making critical strategic decisions and they need more than a rapid analysis as provided by automated landscape tools.

For situations requiring this high degree of accuracy, companies need to enlist services that go beyond what automated tools can provide. To ensure these technology and patent landscapes are being conducted with the highest accuracy, the following factors should be considered:

  • Subject matter experts: technology/patent searches should be conducted by subject matter experts who know and understand the technology and can seek out the important information while eliminating the noise of irrelevant data and documents.
  • Multiple data sources: Data should be mined from multiple data sources such as research literature and business news as well as patents.
  • Accurate and understandable tags: Documents should be annotated with correct and understandable tags that provide actionable, reliable insights. 
  • Customized structures: Instead of templates, the structure of the technology/ patent landscape and the tags should be customized to make it easier for companies to understand the information and use it to make decisions.  
  • Customized deep tagged data set: Customized deep tagged data sets ensure optimal organization and searchability of the data, but more importantly provide reliable key insights.
  • Downloadable reports: Reports should be available to download to edit or share data, with the ability to easily add any additional information and include conclusions and advice to others during the strategic decision-making process.

Evalueserve’s mind+machine™ approach

Patent landscaping is critical for business strategy today. Accurate and actionable insights can put companies ahead of the competition- or without these insights, companies may fall behind the competition.

Evalueserve’s unique Mind+ Machine™ approach to patent landscaping provides the clarity and accuracy necessary to make high-stakes strategic decisions with confidence. Mind+ Machine™  combines human expertise along with best-in-class technologies for customized solutions to harness insights on a large scale. With Insightloupe, companies can extract the most relevant insights and directly understand the implications for your business. Evalueserve’s subject matter experts create visuals of patents and technology trends and provide patents and documents in a fully searchable repository indexed with a customizable taxonomy.

For more information about when to use or not to use automated patent landscape tools feel free to send us an email:

Jeroen Kleinhoven
Head of Products & Alliances, IP and R&D Solutions Posts

Jeroen Kleinhoven is responsible for product strategy at Evalueserve, including the best-in-class Insightloupe Software-as-a-Service platform that helps IP and R&D teams see the value and potential of key information and helps them make the best decisions concerning technology portfolios, patents, and IP licensing opportunities. Jeroen was previously Managing Director of Treparel KMX, the original company behind KMX, which Evalueserve acquired in 2015. Via the Information Adventurer blog, he is excited to discuss why business models and ideas fail, and how our solutions can drive innovation based on enhanced insights from IP and R&D.

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