Step 4. Industry Analysis.    The future entities’ management team should be acutely aware of industry competitors and their intellectual property portfolios. Little can be done to evaluate trade secrets of potential competitors.  However, searching assignment records at national patent and trademark offices can help identify whether potential competitor has an extensive patent or trademark portfolio for particular product line. Since US patent applications are secret, the future entities’ management team can only speculate about the emerging competition. However, a review of the foreign art may suggest concomitant activity by a competitor in the U.S.