Crowdsourcing is a novel and highly effective method for prior art searching. One of the most compelling situations where crowdsourcing can be leveraged is with infringement. Locating hard-to-find prior art through crowdsourced patent searches can prove an effective defense strategy. However, a more subtle application of crowdsourcing to the field of intellectual property is its use in analyzing and finding value in your patent portfolio.
Match your IP strategy to your objectives
Maintaining a large patent portfolio requires assessing your strategy relative to value versus costs. This is reflected particularly in the following situations:
- Issued patents: should you continue to pay maintenance fees, abandon, or license?
- Pending applications: should you continue to prosecute or abandon? Should a continuation be filed to keep the line active after an allowance? Which countries should be considered for filing national stage?
- New filings: what technology areas should be expanded?
‘The crowd’ is an excellent resource for providing creative and global State-of-the Art searches to aggregate the following types of information to better inform decisions:
- Existing products in the marketplace
- Patent landscape
- Current research status/active areas of research
- Companies active in a particular technology sector
- Available technologies to solve a particular problem
Crowdsourcing is an all-encompassing search strategy that can cover both patents and non-patent documents/literature. It allows you to target art to specific geographical areas and languages, with scalability directly proportional to the size of the crowd. With RWS, our crowd of nearly 40,000 researchers bring a diversity of experiences, educational and professional qualifications, languages and access that simply is not achievable through traditional search methods and is unparalleled throughout the industry.
Choosing a strategy for better informed decision making
You are likely already aware of the variables which can influence and direct your business decisions. Crowdsourcing offers you the ability to discretely, quickly and effectively provide you with the data you need to inform those decisions. Patent strength, commercial potential, licensing opportunities and more, can all be uncovered utilizing a crowd-based approach.
When you analyze a portfolio via crowdsourcing, your entire portfolio can be reviewed in a fraction of the time traditional methods allow for. With RWS, our researchers are motivated by a reward-based structure that pays out for only the best and most actionable results with you defining what is considered actionable. There are many benefits which are almost passive and inherent to the crowd-based search model; you will be able to quickly determine whether or not a particular field is crowded with similar products, helping you to determine whether or not maintaining the patent is worthwhile.
Likewise, our researchers could potentially uncover adjacent avenues of development not yet considered by the business line, allowing you to build a business case for pivoting away from an area or product that has easily available ‘design arounds’ while providing a clearer direction to commercialize.
As is apparent, landscaping is inherent to the process and can influence everything from your filing strategy to areas where R&D should focus their attention. If the crowd uncovers competitor activity in a market that you were considering entering, depending on the survey of the landscape, you might decide to either file elsewhere or you could even increase your filings in that market to secure a stronger foothold and deter the competition. Perhaps the crowd uncovers difficulty in active research or perhaps even breakthroughs directly related to your line of business; this could help you identify potential partners or information that could directly influence strategy at the portfolio and R&D levels. Irrespective of the decision in front of you, any decision should ultimately be informed by data and crowd-based patent and portfolio analysis can provide that.
It is understandable that in listing these potential applications that not everyone tasked with managing a portfolio will have the extensive oversight to make use of every bit of information presented to them. However, the need to understand the value and potential sources of revenue that can be extracted from a patent portfolio is almost universal. A crowd-based approach to portfolio analysis can uncover dozens of potential licensees and can even measure the entirety of your portfolio against existing products and standards. This unlocks the ability for you to turn what is traditionally considered a cost center into a profit centre. The crowd has the knowledge and experience to potentially map your patents to standards you did not even know existed, increasing the valuation of your patents and the potential to leverage them into licenses.
In summary, there is a broad array of patent related business decisions, many of which beg for insights into things that until now have been challenging to assess. Effective use of crowdsourcing is an efficient means of gathering information that can inform strategic decisions and help focus resources in the most profitable areas.
At RWS, we have been successfully deploying and refining our IP-focused crowd-based methodologies for over a decade, helping our clients to find value and revenue in their already existing patent portfolios. With our leading-edge web-based AOP Connect platform, you will find our crowd-based searches easier to process, manage and act on than even those provided by traditional sources, but with the ability to scale up and match our services directly to your level of need. Reach out to RWS today and find out what we can do for you.