1. What Is Patent Mapping?
2. What Is Found in a Patent Mapping Report?
3. How Does Patent Mapping Work?
4. Why Use Patent Mapping?

A patent mapping report is an analysis of a certain industry and the patents that are being applied for and granted across the field. This shows where advancements and improvements are happening.

What Is Patent Mapping?

New patents are being processed daily in massive amounts. This can make it tough to get a full picture of what is going on in different industries across the globe. Patent mapping offers a look into a particular field and the trends of development and innovation going on.

Companies can benefit greatly from a patent mapping report as it will show what their competitors are working with as well as give them an idea of which direction their field is heading in. When a report is created, it is customized to the needs of the company or individual that requests it.

The most competitive and successful companies are those that understand their competition and keep up with trends in the market. Think about how the computer industry has changed over the past few years. Each of those major changes started with a patent. If patents are tracked, the future of certain industries can become predictable.

What Is Found in a Patent Mapping Report?

Patent mapping covers any and all of the following information, depending on what the person commissioning the report wants to know:

  • Patent history of competitors
  • Competitive companies or individuals within a certain field
  • New and experimental techniques and processes
  • The markets competitors are involved in
  • Options for collaborative research teams
  • Opportunities for patent licenses
  • Opportunities for recruiting experienced inventors
  • Geographical history of innovation
  • Company collaborations
  • Information regarding strong, influential patents

Not all patent offices keep databases of patents worldwide. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) online database will only show patent applications and granted patents in the United States. To get a better idea of an industry on a broader scale, you can request a patent mapping report, also called a patent landscape report.

How Does Patent Mapping Work?

Patent landscape reports can be created to show a picture of a technical field in a specific region, a specific country, or globally. These types of reports are frequently created by:

A patent mapping report does not simply provide a list of all of the patents that exist in any field of research. The person preparing the report will analyze connections and trends to give a comprehensive study of the current, innovative landscape.

Why Use Patent Mapping?

Patent landscaping is used by companies for a number of reasons. Sometimes, a patent landscape report will simply serve the purpose of keeping a close eye on the competition. If there are new companies popping up in an area, the businesses original to that area will be able to tell how much of a threat they might be with such a report.

The worth of a patent portfolio can be determined through a patent mapping report. If a company wants to purchase a patent license they may use this report to determine a fair amount for a lump sum or royalty payment.

Patent mapping is also good for determining whether an invention or new technique will be likely approved by the USPTO. The patent office will not grant an inventor or company a patent if their creation is too much like another that is already protected by a patent. If patent landscape report shows that there already exist a handful of patents that are similar to the one an inventor hopes to protect, they might need to look deeper into those other inventions and either consider getting a license or reworking their own invention.

Sometimes companies use patent mapping to try to corner the market on innovation in a certain field, but this can be detrimental to progress and developments in that field. It is better used to develop plans for specific research and development as well as marketing strategies.

Not only can a patent landscape report tell you what's out there but it can also tell you what's not. An area in an industry or market that is lacking innovation is called white space. These reports expose those areas and show how companies might be able to get a leg up on their competition by venturing into new territory.

If you need help with a patent mapping report, you can post your job on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.