New technologies enabling predictive analysis of Big Data provide intellectual property (IP) professionals a platform for better decision-making and vastly improved efficiencies. As a result, companies across the world are looking to harness the power of information and analytics to make themselves more Agile, lean, and profitable. Ultimately, applying information to drive better insight is leading to more effective business strategies.
IP is not exempt from this trend. Chief IP officers who embrace the opportunities afforded by better analysis of vast amounts of disparate data will ensure that their IP portfolio is a significant contributor to the company’s bottom line.
IP at the Core of Business Value
Many of the tools and processes used by IP organizations have not evolved as quickly as the businesses they serve. While analytics tools help companies harness Big Data for core business strategies, this is less often the case with IP analysis and decision-making. At a time when the acquisition, protection, and monetization of IP lies at the core of business value, IP intelligence solutions can help companies identify market trends, opportunities, and challenges, and the assets they may already have or need to acquire.
Modern IP management systems help organizations better understand not only the cost of protecting innovation but also the broader value of an IP portfolio. Eventually, every IP department should be able to identify the cost of managing ideas protection. More advanced companies may be able to identify how much revenue an IP portfolio generates annually, demonstrating the return on investment of IP protection.
With these tools available to them, chief IP officers should be able to answer strategic questions such as "How do we compare to our competitors in terms of core technology?" and "Are we behind or ahead in our key areas of technology?" and "Where should we invest in the future to continue to grow?"
New and complex sources of data (litigation, prosecution, financial, product, etc.) are now available and the intelligence now exists to increase their quality, accuracy, and applicability.
Technology-Enabled IP Management
Companies can purchase real-time data on nearly 100 million patents and applications across 100 different jurisdictions — but this is only useful if they have the processing power and analytics capabilities to glean relevant insights.
A new generation of technology has emerged that transforms the way companies interrogate large sets of data. Each technology is groundbreaking in itself, but the combination is what is truly transformational.
On-demand cloud computing means that we can now data-mine more than two billion web pages for less than the cost of a good meal at a restaurant. Meanwhile, Machine Learning enables companies to analyze petabytes of data at record speed in the search for new patterns and solutions. Combined, these technologies enable predictive analytics that help organizations identify valuable trends and anomalies that shape future decision-making.
Applied Analytics Drive Data Insights
Within the IP department, the most forward-thinking companies are deploying predictive analytics in a number of innovative ways.
Predictive analytics can combine internal and external data to evaluate a patent’s strength and relevance. They can also help companies review patents due for renewal and compare patent market share and revenue against the cost of protection to make more informed decisions.
Some companies use these insights to understand attorney performance such as win and loss ratios or to predict patent office actions and prosecution analysis. Eighty percent of IP budgets are spent on filing and prosecution, so the ability to reduce or eliminate low probability filings and increase higher probabilities can make an enormous difference.
Predictive analytics can also ensure the validity of data. Even today, patent information is often entered manually, making it highly vulnerable to human error. For example, in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data, there are more than 800 different ways that "International Business Machines" is spelled in patent grants. Artificial Intelligence facilitates the cleansing of this data efficiently, which vastly improves communications with patent offices worldwide.
All of these examples have the potential to significantly reduce the workload of IP departments at a time when more filings are taking place than ever before.
Transformational Impact for Business
Every industry faces opportunities and threats from different geographies, adjacent industries, and game-changing technologies. Globalization means companies now have less time to react to this environment, and the stakes are higher when they do. The promise of Big Data is that companies will have far more intelligence at their disposal to make accurate decisions and predictions on how their business is operating.
For IP professionals, Big Data has transformed and redefined their potential impact in their organizations. Armed with rich insights, chief IP officers are extending their reach beyond patent applications and filings to more fully shape boardroom strategy.
The tools exist today, and they continue to evolve. Companies that are still manually searching for relevant IP information are not only using their resources less efficiently, they are also missing out on the critical business insight that comes from connecting disparate (big) datasets.