In order to provide a better understanding of the tools and viewpoints mentioned in the previous section, an example of a competitive assessment for a new business development initiative is provided. This example project, utilizing high ethylene content vinyl acetate copolymer emulsions, will use 14 selected patents as representative of the initial art to be considered.
The objective of this competitive assessment is to (1) conduct a preliminary overview of the field, (2) assess the proposed project against known prior art, (3) perform a preliminary strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, and (4) identify white space opportunities for business units in licensing.
To frame what is about to be discussed below, the following key questions were put before the competitive intelligence team.
1. Is there an opportunity to practice the invention?
2. Can the patented invention be asserted against potential infringement and defended?
3. Can the patent be easily circumvented by minor changes in reduction to practice?
4. Are there competitors, what IP exists, and is it dominated by one or more firms?
5. Does it appear possible to enhance the IP strength prior to commercialization through additional patents?
6. Are there white space opportunities?