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IAM: He Who Fails To Plan …

As mentioned in a previous article, a company’s business plan is a good source of input to intellectual asset (IA) lifecycle planning.    More specifically, a well written and routinely updated business plan may serve as a starting point for an intellectual property (IP) landscape analysis.

IP landscape analysis is a knowledge discovery discipline that involves the comprehensive search and analysis of patents and scientific literature pertinent to a given technology area.  In a business context, the technology area of interest is usually defined by the assets in a company’s IP portfolio.  The purpose of a landscape analysis is to provide decision-making support based on business factors that prevail in the technology area at a “snapshot” in time.

The deliverable of an IP landscape analysis commonly is a highly-detailed study or report that synthesizes findings into actionable information.  The report’s conclusions and recommendations regarding IP-related problem solving and/or risk mitigation are based on empirical evidence culled from a number of sources.  A patent database search is the most common approach to identifying sources for analysis.  Other source identification approaches include product searches, regulatory filings, premarket approval notifications, and clinical trial announcements.

Much like a business plan, an IP landscape analysis report requires periodic review and updating if this planning tool is to help an organization keep pace with an ever-changing technology marketplace.  In fact, if your startup finds itself with an incomplete or dated business plan, conducting an IP landscape analysis may be a good way to capture a lot of the same information required for that business plan, such as current and planned products and services, and also competitors in the market.

More on the content of an IP landscape report next time.