When profiling an IP portfolio from a business perspective, there are six main areas to consider. These are: (1) Overall Size and Scope, (2) Validity and Value, (3) Licensing Size, Depth and Breadth, (4) Sustainability, (5) Velocity, and (6) Direction. For the first four areas a star/spider chart is made using over two dozen metrics. The percentile score of each company on each axis can be calculated. In so doing the “picture” created shows areas of relative competitive strength and weakness. An example is shown in the “Example Evaluation of a Company’s Patent Portfolio” figure.
The overall size and scope of the patent portfolio is shown by purple colored indicators in upper right quadrant of the graphic. These indicators show what world-wide geographies the company is filing in and what the size of each geographic portfolio is.
This is followed by the light blue colored indicators in lower right part of the graphic. These indicators are related to the validity and value of the portfolio. They answer the questions related to “is it likely the patents are valid?” and “is the art likely to be key technology?”
When working with partners, the size, depth and breadth of the portfolio available for adjacent technology ventures is shown by the darker blue colored indicators in the lower left quadrant. This gives an indication regarding if the patents cover more than just a single field of interest and if the patents are still in force.
Finally, for both competitors and potential partners alike it is important to know if they have retained the inventors and other resources necessary to continue sustained leadership and participation in their field. The light yellow colored indicators in upper left quadrant address these issues. They show if there are partner companies that could add to sustainability efforts, and if inventors are working in sustainable teams.
In this example, using a relevant technology/business benchmarking patent database we see a “Client” has a small but strong portfolio. The geographic scope and overall patent portfolio size is relatively small and focused on the US and Europe. The portfolio contains an unusually large number of highly cited-by patents. The patents cover many fields and uses. The number of patent assignees is very high. What can be concluded from these findings is that the high cited-by counts indicate that the patents tend to be key patents in their areas, that the client takes advantage of partnerships, and that the company has a small innovative organization, and what it does, it does well.