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Types of Patent Monitoring

Different Types of Patent Monitoring

Competitor monitoring

Monitoring specific competitors is another essential aspect of patent monitoring. It helps companies stay informed about the intellectual property activities of their (in)direct competitors. This type of monitoring involves keeping track of patents filed and granted by known competitors, as well as any changes to their patent portfolios, such as acquisitions, licensing agreements or litigation.

By monitoring their competitors' patents, companies can gain valuable insights into the technologies they are developing and their plans for future innovation.

It is especially important to analyze direct competitors who are researching similar technologies as much as possible. In the best case, you already know the competition's next move before it is published.

Information from competitor monitoring can help companies identify areas that you or your R&D department should focus on. In addition, with competitor monitoring intact, you can efficiently keep track of whether a competitor is actively infringing your IP rights. Competitor monitoring can benefit a wide range of companies, from start-ups looking to enter a new market to established companies looking to maintain their competitive advantage. Above all, competitor monitoring makes sense for companies with an existing patent portfolio. Here, it does not matter whether 1 or 100 patents.‍

Applicant monitoring

Another form of patent monitoring is applicant monitoring.
Here, patent applications of specific companies or persons are monitored.
It is very similar to competitor monitoring. Basically, it differs only in the value of the parameter.

Many companies do not file patents using their common company name. By doing so, they hope that their direct competitors will learn about their efforts in certain technology fields or innovation areas as late as possible. In this way, companies try to gain a kind of "head start". With the help of functional applicant monitoring and knowledge about specific applicants of a company, companies can learn about the research and development efforts of their competitors. This type of monitoring is especially useful for companies operating in highly competitive industries where new patents and technologies can quickly shake up the market. Especially in those where you try to keep a new invention secret for as long as possible. Just as with competitor monitoring, patent application monitoring can provide early warning signs of potential patent infringement so that companies can take proactive steps to protect their own patent portfolios. Companies of all sizes can benefit from applicant monitoring, from small startups to large multinational corporations.

It is important to note that applicant monitoring is most useful when the applicant is known and their patent portfolio is of interest. However, in some cases, the applicant may use a different name or patent law firm to file his/her applications. He/she does this to avoid detection by competitors. In such cases, it may be necessary to conduct additional research or work with a patent monitoring service that specializes in prosecuting applicants to accurately identify the applicant. Regardless of the complexity of the situation, applicant monitoring remains an important tool for companies seeking to stay abreast of their competitors' patent activities and identify potential opportunities or threats to their own patent portfolios.

IPC class monitoring

IPC, or International Patent Classification, is a system for categorizing patents according to their subject matter.

IPC class monitoring is a powerful tool for keeping up to date with the latest technological developments in your industry. It allows you to become aware of patent applications within specific IPC classes and respond in a timely manner. IPC class monitoring allows you to quickly identify new technology trends and emerging markets in specific technology fields. For example, imagine a company in the automotive industry. This monitors relevant IPC classes in the context of electric vehicle technology to identify new competitors, their patent applications or potential partners.

IPC class monitoring is particularly useful for R&D departments, as well as IP managers. They can use this information to develop new products and services, identify potential collaboration partners, and stay ahead of the competition.

Also with PATOffice you can easily monitor IPC classes or have them monitored. The registrations are automatically played into your system and checked for relevance in advance. You receive alerts for specific IPC classes and real-time updates on new patent applications and registrations.

Excursus: International Patent Classification (IPC)
The International Patent Classification, or IPC, is a hierarchical system for classifying patents based on their subject matter. It was created by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and is used by patent offices around the world. The IPC system consists of eight sections, each of which is divided into classes, subclasses, groups and subgroups. Each patent application is assigned a set of IPC codes that relate to the subject matter it covers. A blog post on the topic of "IPC Classes" is currently in progress. You will find the link here shortly.

Register monitoring

Register monitoring is about** keeping track of changes in patent registers**, such as the status of a patent application, its grant or renewal. This type of monitoring is critical for companies that want to be aware of changes in their own patents or those of their competitors.

By monitoring the patent register, companies can identify potential opportunities or threats to their patent portfolio and take appropriate action. For example, if a competitor's patent expires, this may be an opportunity for a company to expand, adopt or deploy a competing product or technology itself. On the other hand, if a competitor has been granted a patent, it may be necessary to adjust one's R&D efforts to avoid costly infringement.

Register monitoring is particularly important for companies operating in international markets, where patent laws and regulations can vary widely. Patent monitoring services or software such as PATOffice can provide up-to-date information about changes in patent registers and help companies stay informed about their patents and those of their competitors.

Representative monitoring

Representative monitoring is about monitoring those patent attorneys who represent patent applicants or owners.

This type of monitoring is particularly useful for companies that want to stay abreast of their competitors' patent activities, but often do not yet know the competition. Patent attorneys also often specialize in a specific subject or field of technology. By monitoring the representatives, i.e., the attorneys of other companies, you can gain insight into the research and development efforts of potential competitors and possibly identify areas of innovation that may be of interest. As with the other types of monitoring, patent agent monitoring can help you or your company identify potential patent infringement and take appropriate action.

Agent monitoring is especially important for companies operating in international markets, where local patent attorneys or agents may be involved in filing or prosecuting patents. Patent monitoring services can provide up-to-date information about the agents of patent applicants and owners, as well as any changes in their portfolios, and help companies stay informed about the patent activities of their competitors.

Utility model monitoring

Utility model monitoring is another type of patent monitoring that is similar to traditional patent monitoring but specific to countries that offer utility model protection. Utility models are similar to patents, but usually have a shorter term and a smaller scope of protection.

Utility model protection exists in many countries, particularly in Europe and Asia. Utility model monitoring** involves keeping track of patent registries and utility model applications** in these countries, as well as any changes in competitors' utility model portfolios.

This type of monitoring can help companies stay informed about potential areas of innovation and identify new competitors in the market.

For companies operating in countries where utility model protection exists, utility model monitoring is an important tool for staying informed about the competitive landscape and identifying potential opportunities or threats to their patent portfolio.

Annual fee monitoring

Annual fee monitoring is about monitoring the fees associated with maintaining a patent or patent application, including annuities and maintenance fees.

This type of monitoring is important for companies that own patents, as failure to pay these fees can result in loss of patent protection. By monitoring annuities, companies can ensure that their patents remain in force and identify potential opportunities or threats to their patent portfolio.
In addition, annuity monitoring can help companies stay informed about their competitors' patent activities, as nonpayment of fees may indicate that a competitor is no longer interested in protecting its patent or has shifted its research and development efforts elsewhere. As with register monitoring, this allows companies to then use previously protected technologies in their products after all and apply them efficiently.

Updated on: 31/05/2023

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