Open Data Drives Competitive Intelligence for Patent Law Firms

Patent information is a wealth of open data. It is used for a lot of applications in innovation intelligence, like patent landscaping or expert extraction. We wanted to add a new competitive intelligence  application into this list.

Each patent does not only disclose the technology itselfs, but also who the inventor (a natural person) and the applicant (usually a company behind the inventor) is. (An example EPO record for a patent is here). The patent does also disclose which patent attorney has worked on it. Connecting these dots allows to mine customer relationships between the technology companies (which act as applicants) and the patent law firms (which act as agent).

In the IP Industry Base we continuously integrate all patent applications which has been published at the EPO since 2014 (as of September 2015).  Using this data, we create for each Patent Law Firm a Customer Portfolio, as it is depicted below.


This is the customer portfolio of the company “Maiwald” (click here to see the full company profile; free registration to the IP Industry Base is required). The customer portfolio shows, that Maiwald has 105 different customers, and currently Huawei Technologies ist the most prominent customer with 225 patent applications since 2014 (as of September 2015).

This is competitive intelligence driven by open data. It helps the Patent Law firms to better understand which customers their main competitors serve – and which tactics they might follow.

From a competitive intelligence perspective, the customer portfolio only reflects the past. But how the market is changing today? Providing answers to this question on market dynamics is at least equally important in competitive intelligence.

With the patent data, the EPO provides a very interesting open data source for this purpose – because it is updated at least on a weekly basis.

updateWhenever we observe in the fresh data a new customer of a Patent Law firm the IP Industry Base is sending an alert to all users who are watching this company. This alerts helps to monitor the market in near-time and to detect new developments and moves of the competitors as soon as possible. (Remark: Patent applications are published 18 months after they have submitted to the EPO. Hence the customer relationship is at least 18 months old when it appears the first time in the open data from EPO. However, in the most cases this will be the first indicator for this customer relationship which can be observed somehow.)

Summarized, the open patent data from the EPO can be used for helping (smaller) Patent law firms to better understand the structure and the current dynamics in their own market. The feature is free and open to everyone. It can be used by any interested user, only a registration to the IP Industry Base is required.

The IP Industry Base is a public-funded and non-profit database dedicated to research purposes realized by the Competitive Intelligence Group at Fraunhofer MOEZ. The IP Industry Base is free and open to anyone under the condition of fair usage. The Fraunhofer MOEZ does not warrant or accept any liability in relation to the quality, operability or accuracy of the data presented in the IP Industry Base.

Featured Image from telmo32