Once art that is covering commercial or strategic products or programs is understood the next tool to be used is the “VALUE view of Patent Portfolios”, as is shown in the Figure. This mapping of patents was created by a pairwise comparison of the products or technologies claimed in each patent. The pair of patents under consideration is placed to the left or right of one another depending upon the relative cost of producing the claimed product or service is higher or lower of the pair. The vertical positioning of the two documents has to do with the relative performance that the claimed product or technology would have vis-à-vis the other. The performance is a subject matter expert’s view of the relative quality, service or design elements in the eyes of customers. Teams of technical and marketing personnel can typically place 30 patents on a grid like this in under an hour.
Even though the individual team members have to read the patents’ claims segmenting pairs of art isn’t as hard as it looks. The reason for this is that the work is done in a pairwise comparison manner. The human mind is very quick when it only compares two things against one another. It is when you give it three or more objects the process slows down considerably. Ideal for this type of analysis is to place the front pages of the patents on a large table on which the axes of Relative Performance and Cost have been laid out.