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Factors To Keep In Mind Before Starting a New Or Peripheral R&D Vertical Here's how patent data can be used to make business decisions regarding starting a new or peripheral R&D vertical

By Tarun Kumar Bansal

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Companies often possess technical expertise that can be easily expanded across various business segments. In such expansion-related business decisions, patent insights can be paramount in making the right move. There are multiple ways for a company to expand its business based on company expertise and resources vis-a-vis mergers and acquisitions, starting a new R&D segment and collaborations. In this article, we will discuss how patent data can be used to make business decisions regarding starting a new or peripheral R&D vertical.

Patent solutions to decide R&D direction and make decisions

The future of a company relies heavily on its R&D direction. It is, therefore, imperative for researchers or developers to have certainty on the direction they pursue before spending time and money on a technology or product. While making such decisions, it is crucial to explore various aspects of the market and IP landscape to understand different trends, innovations, gaps in the market, competitor's activities, etc., in that technology vertical. Patents can be a goldmine of information related to any technology and its status, and thus can be crucial in making business decisions.

Technology (patent) landscaping is one such factor that can be integral while starting a new R&D segment:

Technology landscaping

Patent (technology) landscape analysis is the process of understanding the entire landscape of a technology domain. By using a relevant database, information is extracted and analyzed manually to provide expert insights into technologies that inspire innovations. The insights provided by a landscape analysis uncover the hot spots according to region, players, competition, market, the direction of current technology, restricted areas for patent or product launch, and prospects for business or licensing. In general, a technology landscape reveals the following information:

Technology trends: One of the most important pieces of information derived from a technology landscape is a technology trend. The history and current status of technology help companies make informed decisions about which technologies to invest in and expand into. A comprehensive landscaping process helps to identify obsolete and upcoming solutions in a domain, and thus forms the foundation of the decisions to be taken for R&D direction.

White spaces: White spaces in a technical area are the most crucial information required for an R&D strategy. While deciding the R&D direction, it becomes imperative for a company to know which technical areas are unexplored. This gives an idea about gaps in the technology that could be potentially leveraged by the company as an untapped market opportunity. White space analysis also provides information regarding existing problems in the domain.

Present market status and interest: Understanding the global scenario of the primary market of technology is a foundational step in making any business decision. This also helps a company to identify the most active markets, gaps and requirements in the market and prospective market interest for any innovation.

Key players and new entrants: Identifying major players in a domain and players that have recently entered the market provides valuable information regarding the competition and the competitors' market share. Technology landscapes also provide in-depth knowledge about the technical activities of these players as well as their strengths and weaknesses. This information enables a company to understand its competitor's R&D and market strategies and devise their own strategies in an informed manner.

Prolific innovators: Identifying innovators/researchers and sourcing them for innovation-related activities is one of the most important aspects in developing a new technology. Technology landscaping helps in finding experienced innovators who can help develop new technologies and expand existing portfolios. Inventors with multiple patents in one technology area have immense knowledge of the technology. Therefore, they can be a great value-add to the R&D department of any new business.

State-of-the-art university research: Universities are hotspots for cutting-edge innovations. Therefore, it is important for a company to search various universities that are operating in the new technology or domain that a company is trying to enter. Universities have immense potential for innovation as they have unlimited resources and only a few constraints. Thus, identifying upcoming research can be crucial for making business decisions regarding new business segments. This research can be leveraged best in the form of collaborations or joint ventures.

Active geographies: Technology landscapes also reveal market and research countries based on the jurisdictions of filings. This information can be extremely useful in understanding the origin, extent of research and active markets. The geographical distribution also demonstrates unexplored markets for new technical verticals.


Patent (technology) landscapes can provide end-to-end insights into any technology. The scope of a landscape can be customised to provide solutions for any business problem and thus the information derived is valuable in taking decisions at various stages of an R&D strategy. Technology landscapes provide both a bird's eye view of the domain and an in-depth technical analysis based on requirements.

Tarun Kumar Bansal

President, Sagacious IP

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