What if it was possible to spot disruptive trends early on, to prepare or even capitalize on the market shift? Apple has become a leader in the watch market within just 2 years. As with the iPad, iPod and Apple computers before it, the Apple Watch has been a clearly disruptive force. Millions of dollars in revenue were thus withdrawn from the traditional watch market. An event that occurs in many industries today and that every company tries to predict in the best possible way.
Traditional Intellectual Property Analytics are hard to read, even for seasoned experts, with analyses more often appearing as jumbled hay stacks rather than meaningful substance. Now new analytics methods are coming in Intellectual Property, revealing such insights as the advent of Apples wearable ambitions years before rumors were emerging.
“Traditional” quantitative perspective
Counting the number of patents filed which cite the market of interest:
New qualitative perspective
Assessing the value of the patents citing the market of interest, and tracking the active portfolios over time:
On the vertical we have moved away from a purely quantitative approach to a qualitative one. Instead of the sheer number of patent families we now look at the strength of the portfolios citing this technology, utilizing the independently verified methodology of the Patent Asset Index.
On the horizontal we switch from a simple filing year to a full evaluation of the active portfolios over time, which we call “Reporting Date”. Each data point is comprised of only the active patents, and the available information, at that point in time. Combining historic legal status and citation data in a way not seen else where in the IP-Analytics Industry, providing a window into the true state of the innovation landscape at a given point in time.
After this transformation Apple can be seen clearly rising from the pack, whereas before it was one of many undistinguished players. Such trend analysis need not be complex and can be created with only a few clicks and seconds in PatentSight.
In 2007 Apple launched the first iPhone. It took until 2011 before the first rumors surfaced that Apple might be developing wearable devices – and another four until the Apple Watch hit the shelves.
With PatentSight’s metrics in 2008 this was already clear, a hand full of Apple patents (out of more than 10,000) had grown in strength building heavily on the developments of Swiss watch makers. It may have never occurred to the Swiss watch makers to consider Apple as a competitor, using the past as a guide. With Apple not appearing in traditional competitive searches based simply on the number of patents citing the technology field of Swiss watches.
Apple became the #1 watchmaker in the world within two years – with just one product!
The early identification of this disruptive technology would have given the market leaders of the time, already in the year 2008, clear signals about a new groundbreaking trend that they could have taken advantage, likely gaining millions of dollars in revenue. In fact, market leaders started their first discussions that Apple might be developing a wearable device in 2010. With the metrics of patent data analyses shown above they could have been seen that 2 years earlier!
In recent years it has become increasingly common that new entrants which may at first appear small and inconspicuous, only serving a niche, break through to the larger market becoming leaders in the shortest time. Their developments arise from their possibilities, agility, and unconventional practices. Eventually leading to the displacement of established companies.
For this reason, it is essential for companies to identify disruptive technologies and their developers early on. Only in this way will they have the chance to react to developments in time to:
align their own developments
reject non-competitive innovations at an early stage
purchase new types of innovations and thus set up for a trend in a good time
If they don’t, they risk to lose their market relevance and competitive strength. Their products and technologies are outdated overnight and they can expect enormous financial losses.
Technological improvement is secured and sustained through the intellectual property of a company. Benchmarking against competitors and trend analysis in the field of future technologies is a common use case for IP Portfolios analytics.
However, in recent years it has been established that only a small proportion of patents create any valuable for the holder. Therefor traditional analyses which simply compare the size of patent portfolios or counting the number of patent families alone does not provide us any concrete insight into the strength of these patents.
The Patent Asset Index™ is the heart of PatentSight's analytics platform for strategic IP management and, therefore, a key component in everything we do for our clients. Being scientifically validated, industry leaders trust PatentSight to illustrate the strength of their patent portfolios in annual shareholder reports and other stakeholder communications.
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All the projects we have undertaken have one thing in common - we quickly surprised our customers with previously unknown and invaluable insights on their patent portfolio.