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What is patent monitoring and why do I or my company should do it?

Patents, as well as other intellectual property rights, are a comprehensive topic, which on the one hand eats up a lot of time, is described by many colleagues as old-fashioned and dull, but at the same time holds a kind of corporate treasure, which should not be underestimated.
One topic of IP management is the monitoring of the own patent portfolio, but also the analysis of applications by known competitors or potential new players in the market - also called patent monitoring.

Whether you are an IP manager, a technical manager, the managing director of a company with a patent portfolio or a patent attorney:

people who take care of intellectual property in a company or for a client usually have a full desk.
Patents, as well as other intellectual property rights, are a comprehensive topic which, on the one hand, eats up a lot of time, is described by many colleagues as old-fashioned and dull, but at the same time holds a kind of corporate treasure which should not be underestimated.
One topic of IP management is the monitoring of the own patent portfolio, but also the analysis of applications by known competitors or potential new players in the market - also called patent monitoring.
PATOffice is a modern web-based software that raises patent monitoring qualitatively to a new level and, at the same time, makes it much faster, easier and friendlier through an automated workflow.
PATOffice is suitable for any company with a patent portfolio: from start-up to corporate.

‍The daily increasing number of patent applications worldwide and the constant new developments in technology, pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering and many more, present companies with ever greater challenges.
Keeping up with the competition or even outdoing them is becoming increasingly difficult - true to our motto: Too many documents (aka new patents / innovations), too little time.
Regular patent monitoring is therefore an important aspect for companies and organizations to stay up to date on a daily basis and to keep abreast of current trends and developments in the market.
By monitoring patents and new applications, companies can identify new technologies and innovations and adapt and respond to potential changes or new fields of technology at an early stage. This, in turn, can help gain competitive advantage and identify future business opportunities.
In short, regular patent monitoring is an indispensable tool for successful business development.

Time-consuming training and seminars? Why not train your employees on the side

Or: My R&D is better than yours

An important customer of ours once said:
"Patent monitoring with PATOffice not only serves patent monitoring per se, it also trains our technical experts. Actually, this is the most important USP of PATOffice for me. Nowhere else do they learn about the latest technology developments so early on. No advanced training can match this."

For us like music to the ears we have thought about it further and even if we had not yet focused it ourselves - It's true.
It takes 18 months until a patent application is actually published. Until the patent is actually granted, it can take another 7 years. So why wait until the next trade show or training session for the technology or product to be presented ready to go?
Doesn't it make much more sense to keep such a close eye on the competitor that they never get that head start?
By keeping an eye on new patent applications, your technical experts will definitely know about new developments before anyone else, so they can react quickly and present themselves to your customers as true experts thanks to their specialist knowledge - if that's not a sales argument?

Do we infringe other people's patents in our R&D or are our own patents possibly infringed?

Who hasn't experienced this? You research and research, you think you are on the track of something completely new and then this: The competitor has already patented the same technology and is now suing you for damages.
Of course, it can happen in R&D that a company accidentally infringes a patent without knowing it. However, this risk can be significantly reduced with the right software and you can even protect yourself legally.
For example, did you know that a CEO is personally liable for patent infringement?
An installed and used patent monitoring software, like PATOffice, can actively support you here. Not only can relevant patents be found easily, quickly and automatically, but personal liability can be minimized just by using PATOffice. Just having an overview of the patent landscape can mitigate penalties.
As you can see, it is not only important but quite advisable to conduct regular reviews and ensure that all patents and intellectual property rights are kept in view. In this way, you can protect other companies' patents as well as your own, and thus fend off legal action.

Manual or automated? Which type of patent monitoring makes sense for me and my company?

‍There are different types of patent monitoring. One can classically distinguish between manual and automated monitoring.

But which kind of patent monitoring makes sense for me and my company?

Manually - for people & companies with a lot of time on their hands

‍Manual monitoring involves manually searching for patents in various sources such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, patent databases and other online sources and finally managing them in manually managed lists, e.g. in Excel or similar. This method is suitable for companies with a small number of patents, limited resources. but with a lot of time. This method is outdated due to the rapid development in the software market. Too many web-based solutions now simplify this work, taking the efficiency of R&D departments to a whole new level. The simple management of relevant intellectual property rights is fully automated and saves a lot of time.

Automated - for modern IP managers who also need time for their other tasks.

Automated monitoring, on the other hand, uses software to search, collect and analyze patent data. This method is more efficient and comprehensive than manual monitoring because the software can quickly and easily search through large amounts of data to find information relevant to the company. Automated monitoring is ideal for companies with a large number of patents and a high level of patent activity. But it's also great for those who don't want to spend too much time on the process of finding the relevant patents.

Develop it yourself or trust the experts?

Probably the greatest challenge in patent monitoring is to develop a system that performs monitoring efficiently and comprehensively. This includes monitoring new patent applications, market changes and technological developments.

In order to monitor patent applications or, more fundamentally, competitors, specific search profiles are needed. These should be clearly defined in advance to ensure that all relevant patents are found when searching for patents.
If the search profile is not comprehensively defined, it can easily happen that an important patent slips through the cracks.
Experts and appropriate tools can be invaluable here and definitely worth the money.
They help with
The correct set-up of patent search profiles
The automatic display of relevant patents that fit into the search profile. These can also be directly categorized and forwarded to appropriate colleagues for evaluation.
Setting up automatic e-mail notifications or alerts for highly relevant patents, which may result in legal action.
and much more.‍‍

Too many documents- too little time

Another challenge is to manage the flood of information that arises in the monitoring of patents. It is important to identify and process the relevant information quickly and effectively.
Here, too, it pays to automate processes. Patent databases are usually freely accessible. Nevertheless, not all the information is usually presented here in full. Previously defined search profiles can usually be used here in any case, but manually transferring the results to an Excel spreadsheet, for example, eats up time unnecessarily. This can also be done more simply 😊
Many patent monitoring tools now also have a kind of score that estimates the relevance of a patent for its own field of application in advance. In PATOffice, this score is called "content score" and shows from the beginning how relevant an IP right is for the defined search profile. This way, one can quickly prioritize the IPR documents to be read and thus take care of the essential things.

Cooperation among experts is the be-all and end-all

Despite content scoring, or other relevance scoring, it can still be challenging to assess the value of a patent, especially if it is a new technology. High quality patent monitoring requires a deep understanding of the technology and relevant legislation. To overcome these challenges in patent monitoring, it is important to build an experienced team or make the collaboration as effective as possible.

Patent Monitoring with PATOffice

We at PATOffice know all too well about all these challenges and that is why we are so keen to make patent monitoring easy and lively. We personally find it a shame that patent management is still treated stepmotherly in so many companies, when it carries so much potential.
Moreover, we at PATOffice are no beginners - europatent GmbH, our origin, has existed for more than 70 years.

Our experts have been working in the IP service industry for years.
We as a company have also been keeping an eye on current technologies and competitors and so it was soon clear: our services need more speed, more ease, more fun.
That's how PATOffice came into being.
In the meantime, we have completely mapped the patent monitoring in our constantly developing software PATOffice. Here, relevant patents are collected, which can be automatically distributed to team members and evaluated by them. Collaboration via comment functions, notifications and much more is a matter of course.
More functions, which correspond to the current SaaS standard, are added every day.

Updated on: 31/05/2023

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