We previously addressed both freedom-to-operate and patentability analyses and what the benefits of each are. In this post, we will examine landscape analyses and the five pieces of information that can be learned from conducting one. At BPLG, we love landscape studies because of the valuable information they provide. We can use this information to not only guide our IP strategy, but also to help expand our product pipeline.
Provides a look at the market today
At its heart, a landscape analysis is essentially a look at the market to understand the existing technology and trends in a given technological area. Such an analysis involves looking at the past, present, and future trends in technology and learning important details about a given technology. Based on this information, companies, entrepreneurs, researchers, and scientists gain an understanding of the “state of the art” which ultimately helps them plan a research strategy to build, expand, improve, or modify that art.
Early insight into what the patenting activity of competitors
A landscape analysis can further provide early insight into what competitors have in the development pipeline and what products competitors are innovating. Examining patent filing trends together with market research is useful in determining the commercial phase (e.g., infancy, mature, or declining) of the technology and understanding the general trend of certain technology areas. Understanding this information can help companies better plan the development of their own products and allow them to identify which products should be developed and which should be abandoned.
Identify gaps for innovation
Similar to a patentability study, a landscape analysis can also help uncover further opportunities for development and ultimately patenting. If a landscape study reveals patent filings for an antibody in the field of inflammation, but not in the field of cardiovascular disease, for instance, this gap could encourage the development of products in the field of cardiovascular disease. The landscape study may further reveal other modifications that could be made to the product (e.g., changes in formulation, dosage amount, etc.) that could be pursued. Overall, understanding the patent filing trends is important in guiding a company to areas that worth pursuing commercially and those that should be avoided.
Explore opportunities for collaboration
Furthermore, a landscape study can help identify potential partners for collaborations. Since a patentability study identifies patents and patent applications directed to similar content, the assignees of those patents and applications can be found on those documents. This will allow a company to reach out to the assignees to discuss possible collaborations or identify opportunities for in- or out-licensing.
Identifies inventors to hire or collaborate with
Similar to the previous point, a landscape study can identify inventors who are developing new and exciting technology. Knowing what patent applications are being filed can help companies explore potential opportunities to either hire those inventors or collaborate with them on future projects.
When done correctly, a landscape study provides valuable information about the current market and its trends. Based on this information, a company can evaluate opportunities for developing new products, abandoning existing products, and exploring possible collaborations within the same space.
BioPharma Law Blog posts updates and analyses on IP topics, FDA regulatory issues, emerging legal developments, and other news in the constantly evolving world of biotech, pharma, and medical devices.