Why Competitive Intelligence Is a Game Changer for Patent Firms
Firms with a solid grasp on landscape analysis and competitive intelligence become indispensable to their clients and difficult to beat when vying for new business.
Landscape analysis and competitive intelligence are proactive ways to understand how you and your clients compete with industry peers. By investing in these initiatives, you can provide a more comprehensive set of services to your client while continuing to grow your business. Putting in the time and effort now can lead to:
- Improved client satisfaction through actionable industry insight
- Direction for your business development strategy, with a roster of potential clients looking for your specific technological expertise
- Awareness of known and emerging competitors – and how your firm stands out
Below, we discuss each of these benefits in-depth, with a few suggestions on how to start your analysis.
Improve client satisfaction
Maintaining existing work is imperative for firms right now – after all, maintaining (and growing) client relationships is often more cost-effective than trying to attract new business. Now is the perfect time to position yourself as a proactive legal partner.
Landscape analysis allows you to set expectations about prosecution strategy, expected costs, and average timelines at the USPTO. By focusing on transparency early on, patent attorneys can demonstrate their value as a guide through the notoriously complex prosecution process.
But you can take your service to a whole new level by keeping your clients updated on changes in their industry. With access to patent analytics, you have your finger on the pulse of what’s coming down the innovation pipeline and who is creating it.
All of your clients have specific technological focuses – use that to your advantage. Let them know where the market is headed. The USPTO has already done some of the work for you by categorizing applications into an Art Unit, Class, and Technology Centers – all available as reports within Juristat to quickly reference and share with clients. With robust filtering capabilities and more than 125 unique variables, you can find the applications most similar to your client’s current efforts, revealing emerging threats in the industry, and competitive innovations that may affect their projects.
With landscape analysis, you can ingrain your firm in all parts of your client’s innovation pipeline. And as an indispensable part of a client’s research and development, you have little to worry about when competitors come knocking for their business.
Drive business development strategy
Every patent attorney has a type of technology where they excel. And the most successful attorneys are the ones paired with clients innovating within that technology. If your firm is full of expert attorneys familiar with computer software, you’d want to recruit clients developing computer software, right?
Landscape analysis is incredibly valuable in identifying and winning over your ideal client. It allows patent firms to take control of their business development initiatives, honing in on companies that align with the firm’s area of expertise. With patent analytics, you can look into the Art Units or Technology Centers at the USPTO where your firm has the highest success rate and then identify the companies filing the most applications in those categories. And, by paying attention to the number of filed applications over time, you’ll know which companies are investing the most resources and which young upstarts are about to take over the industry.
By finding the major and emerging players most relevant to your firm’s skillset, you can ensure a focused, more impactful business development strategy.
Identify your competition – and find a way to stand out
Every business has to compete within its market, and it pays to know against who. Smart businesses keep an eye on their competitive landscape.
Established firms are well aware of their main competitors, but what about new enterprises siphoning away prospects? We recently identified the top 25 emerging patent firms of the past decade, all of which grew their filings more than 500% from 2009 to 2018. If not vigilant, your firm may lose some momentum to these smaller, less familiar competitors.
A broader landscape analysis can help your team identify emerging firms in your specialty areas. And competitive intelligence offers insight into why your firm is the better option when compared to the established rival or the young upstart.
Say you are working for a large client, and you know that you are losing ground to a recently hired firm. You know your team has provided spectacular service but don't know how to demonstrate your value to the client.
On top of quantifying your firm's ROI with prosecution data, you can compare your firm's success to that of your competitor's. Tools like Juristat allow you to look into all the filed applications by a specific assignee and filter to applications represented by a particular firm. You can compare fundamental metrics, like allowance rate and the average number of office actions to an allowance, but these tools allow you to dig even deeper. For example, you can calculate a client's potential prosecution savings if they send their applications to your firm instead of to another. Or you could focus on portfolio value and show how your superior allowance rate ensures portfolio growth. Competitive intelligence ensures continued firm success by giving you the tools to highlight what sets your firm apart.
For some pointers on these calculations, make sure to check out our “Using Data to Show Firm Value to Clients” webinar.
Landscape analysis and competitive intelligence are two vital components of staying relevant in the legal industry, forcing you and your team to innovate, stay on top of current trends and tactics, and provide the best services to your clients. Exploring industry trends and identifying worthy competitors are incredibly effective ways to avoid complacency in a field currently experiencing significant change. There is no better time than now to make it a priority.
Wondering how to integrate landscape analysis and competitive intelligence into your business development initiatives? Watch our webinar, "Conducting Landscape Analysis for Stronger IP," where we discuss how to conduct both broad and specific text searches to understand the IP landscape for a particular type of technology. And when you’re ready to see more, let’s chat.