2016 Predictions for Intellectual Property Professionals and the Patent Analytics Industry

Tyron Stading Makes His Calls for the IP Industry

With 2016 upon us, I wanted to quickly thank everyone for a wonderful 2015 and share my thoughts on what I believe will be a transformative upcoming year for the patent information industry.  Despite many changes in the patent system and potentially more legislation on the horizon bringing additional changes, I continue to believe that patents are more valuable than ever for a company’s strategy and focus.  However, this expands beyond the patent itself, into the entire ecosystem and what it means for competitive and innovation intelligence. I have spoken to leaders in innovation from around the world over the past year and along with macro trends in business, I compiled my top 6 predictions for the 2016:

1. Private and public data unite, creating a single cohesive story

Instead of having silos of data, companies will finally be able to gain insights from private and public data around their portfolios. This will be driven by corporations asking for more data in supporting key decisions. For the first time, they will have a competitive advantage by being able to answer questions about their portfolio in the context of how it relates to the entire IP landscape of their competitors and markets. This has massive implications throughout IP processes:  innovation, prosecution, budgeting, forecasting, maintenance, and strategy. This trend will have ripple effects for the next decade in how people manage IP.

2. Analytics integrate into the IP workflow

Today, workflow and analytics are isolated from one another, causing missed opportunities to make more informed decisions. Companies need to provide intelligence in-line with their workflow decisions. Instead of a user having to remember to log into multiple systems and request reports when they are managing an IP workflow process, imagine the information and guidance being pushed to the user when they need it directly within the workflow tool. For example, today a sophisticated user has to remember to request or prepare a prosecution analytics report. Imagine the prosecuting attorney automatically being sent a report with recommendations as they are planning their response.  Imagine renewal decisions automatically having competitive benchmarks and suggestions provided in-line to help make a more informed decision. 2016 will be the first year professionals don’t have to juggle multiple interfaces and systems, because the workflows will proactively suggest new strategies and highlight data that is relevant to daily decisions.

3. Patent professionals become Big Data Scientists

Ten years ago, only a handful of people were doing true analytics on patent data.  However, we’ve seen companies quickly realizing how critical patent analytics are to their company’s competitive future. I believe this has reached critical mass as professionals are now being asked to be more analytical and scientific in their approach to patent filing, patent maintenance, and competitive intelligence. In a survey of our users, competitive intelligence has gone from the #3 use case a few years ago to the #1 use case. As executives are now trained in Big Data analytics for other departments (e.g. sales and marketing), they are coming to expect the same sophistication from all the departments. IP professionals will become more savvy about data quality, practical decision metrics, and analytics.  I see people quickly understanding not all data is equal, and not all analytics are equal. Big Data also means incorporating as much data as possible (e.g. litigation, company financials, PAIR prosecution, etc), and the demand will increase to integrate more and more data into a unified model. 

4. Budget pressures extend further into IP

Many of the professionals I’ve worked with over the past few years have faced new requests to trim back budgets supporting IP processes. With today’s uncertainty in the global economy, it is likely this will accelerate. The IP professional has two options: i) become smarter about their processes today, looking for ways to streamline and bundle services into a unified and more cost-effective solution, or ii) prove greater value to the business by integrating into the core innovation strategy and product development cycle. The leading IP groups will do both, providing more value for less cost, since the status quo will no longer be acceptable as corporations investigate optimization opportunities across the organization.

5. IP becomes central to R&D innovation

Inventors have been an unwilling and unwitting participant in the IP process for too long. They see IP as a compliance process and not something that provides proactive insights to their research and innovation. However, with increased focus on new product development and innovation, coupled with recent breakthroughs in collaboration and analytics, R&D will be able to quantify, forecast, and manage pieces of the innovation lifecycle never before possible. R&D and IP will work more seamlessly together in mitigating risks, while increasing strategic focus around collaboration and invention.

6. Software transforms IP operations

Marc Andreessen famously stated that “software is eating the world”.  IP is no exception. With advances in technology, we've already seen large productivity improvements and improved business intelligence with analytics. This trend will continue to accelerate as conventional methods and manual processes are replaced with intelligent, automated ones that simultaneously reduce prices and increase strategic value.

Some of these predictions are a bit ambitious and may take multiple years to accomplish, but I see the most innovative companies benefiting from these trends to drive their own competitive advantage.  2016 will be an exciting year, and I hope to work with many of you to accelerate these trends to help evolve the IP industry. Comments or other ideas? Please post them here. 

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Property Mentor, 02.18.2016

Excellent post and the topic chosen by the other is reality of the time. I must appreciate this post. Keep up the good work.

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