Do you know what your competitors are patenting?
What can you achieve by monitoring patents and designs?
Most companies stay well informed about what their competitors are marketing. It is important to know what the competitors can offer their customers so that you can remain competitive. However, it is far from all companies that systematically stay informed about which patent applications or design applications their competitors submit. This sometimes presents surprising challenges. It is not fun to learn that a product that you have spent perhaps several years and a lot of money developing, has in fact already been patented and/or design protected by a competitor. Even less fun is to experience that the company’s new product is carried out at a trade fair by order of the bailiff, because a competitor can present a patent which on the face of it looks valid.
It therefore pays to take precautions.
What does it take?
In fact, it takes very little to make a big difference, in the sense that even a simple and therefore inexpensive patent monitoring will typically be far better than no monitoring, provided of course that the monitoring is strategically designed. Although a simple monitoring will not find all relevant rights, there is a good probability that it will find possible rights that are very relevant. Monitoring can e.g. be targeted at specific competitors, a specific product or a defined technical area.
Of course in theory, a very thorough patent monitoring, providing a broad coverage, will provide greater security. However, a very thorough monitoring can often yield so many search results that in practice it becomes difficult to consider all the results (i.e. identified patent documents). The monitoring setup should therefore be designed with appropriate balance of the need for thoroughness in relation to what can be handled in practice. There is no point in setting up thorough monitoring if you do not have the time or manpower to consider the results.
Several benefits of patent monitoring
The obvious advantage of patent monitoring is that you reduce the risk of inadvertently infringing on the patents of others. However, an often overlooked advantage of a patent monitoring is also that competitors’ filed patent applications can be an inspiration in the development work, as one does not have to “reinvent the wheel”, so to speak. This is because not all patent applications filed lead to a patent, and in general this only happens in selected countries. Often the scope of protection is limited during the prosecution of the application. Furthermore, issued patents typically have a maximum validity of 20 years. In this way, patent monitoring can provide information about what others have already developed that is not protected by patent rights. One can stay informed about what is moving in the industry.
How Guardian can help you with competitive monitoring
At Guardian, we have the necessary expertise and many years of experience in setting up sensible search profiles that find relevant patent, utility model and design rights. We strive to create a search profile that does not yield more results than your company has the manpower to deal with. If desired, we can review and sort the results found before sending them to you. This saves you valuable time, as you only have to deal with the documents that we have selected as relevant.
We can send you monitoring results by email at regular intervals. However, we also offer several different software solutions which among other things may provide the possibility of archiving and categorising the results found. In this way you can build your own database of relevant rights. We would be happy to help advice on what is the right solution for you and your company.
Please feel free to contact us. Guardian has one of Denmark’s largest and strongest teams of European Patent Attorneys and European Design Attorneys providing expertise in diverse technical fields. Reach out for us for a non-binding conversation.
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