Why should I carry out a Patent Landscape Search?
At the research stage, patent searching can be conducted to help focus Research and Development (R&D) and provide inventors with background technical information to help generate ideas for a product or invention. There are two search types that you should consider at the research stage; the first of which is a Landscape Mapping Search, also known as a White Space Search. This search sets out, in general terms, how highly patented areas are, how rapidly particular technology fields are expanding, who the main assignees are and where they are patenting. The data is presented in several charts that include a Technology Landscape Map, which groups patents by their key concepts to generate a contour map of the technology landscape, showing hills of high concentration of patents and valleys of low concentration. This is a useful tool to visualise groupings of assignees around key technology areas, or where there appears to be ‘white space’ in the area i.e. potential gaps in the market.
Patent Landscape Mapping searches have an intrinsic use in the research stage of a product. However, they are also a useful tool throughout the full life cycle of a product and can provide valuable insight into how your company fits into the patent landscape compared to your competitors and lets you know how patent portfolios are changing.