How to Discover Competitors You Didn’t Even Know Existed
Competition is a vital component of doing business, especially for patent teams. Competition forces you to innovate, finding creative solutions to protect and grow every patent portfolio on your books.
Knowing who the potential competitors are for your technology or your client's technology can help you shape and hone your prosecution strategy to achieve a successful and profitable result.
Competitors fall into four categories:
- Direct competitors: Your fiercest aspirants. For firms, you are vying for the same clients. Companies are competing in the same technologies.
- Indirect competitors: Companies and firms that offer an alternative option. Not an immediate worry, but you should keep an eye on them. Sometimes an indirect competitor can become a direct competitor.
New Entrants: New companies that might change your industry completely. For example, if you're working in the automotive space, you’ll want to be aware of both traditional and self-driving technology to have a full picture of your competitive market.
Substitutes: A substitute product is anything that delivers the same set of benefits as your own but is not a competing product. Keeping with the automotive example above, you'll want to be aware of competitors in automotive technology as well as advancements in light-rail technology, which poses the potential to disrupt your market.
When identifying your patent portfolio’s competitors, you’ll want to start by conducting a landscape analysis to understand how you and your clients compete with industry peers. With Juristat, IP professionals can gather intelligence on major competitors, as well as emerging startups in the market.
Keep competitors and industry developments top of mind by using these strategies:
Perform a market analysis
Using Juristat, you can perform a keyword or similarity search to identify applications related to the type of technology you're interested in. Then toggle to Intelligence View to see who the frequent filers are, or what Art Unit they’re typically in. Knowing who you’re competing against is the first, simple step in developing a strategy to beat them.
You know the big-name direct competitors in your industry, but do you know all of their subsidiaries? Essential patents are not always registered to the brand name with which you are most familiar. Many large organizations have patent applications filed under different business units, subsidiaries, and outside acquisitions. With Juristat’s Raw Names filter, you can filter your keyword search results to applications assigned to the parent organization or one of its many subsidiaries.
102 Forward Citations
A patent application may be rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 102 if a single prior art reference teaches each and every element of that patent application’s claim. If a company has received a 102 rejection citing your issued patent, you can assume they are developing technologies similar to your own. Proactively knowing when this happens is an effective way to identify indirect or substitute competitors you weren’t aware of or even new entrants into the market. Juristat’s 102 Forward Citation Reports can let you know when your competitors are infringing on your issued art.
Once you’ve identified your competition, see how you stack up. Use intelligence view in Juristat to easily compare your metrics to theirs on one screen. There, you can see the number of filings, type of rejections, allowance rate and most common tech centers.
With this information, you can have informed discussions with both clients and colleagues about your portfolio strategy, and even new business opportunities.
By dedicating time to competitive analysis, you’ll have a better understanding of the competitive strength of your portfolio. Staying aware of your competitive landscape is the first step to accomplishing this goal.
To see how Juristat can help you identify currently unknown competitors operating in your IP landscape, sign up for a demo today.