PatSnap Platform Upgrade: Smarter Decisions with Extended Families & Standard-Essential Patents

Sherlock Holmes Investigative Tools


I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

|Sir Arthur Conan Doyle|


Inventors get attached to inventions. CTOs get attached to strategies. Shareholders get attached to money.

We all have agendas and biases—and when making decisions, we tend to lean towards our biases.

But the most successful businesses have data to help them predictably execute successful IP strategies and increase innovation ROI.

PatSnap has just levelled up to help you quickly and accurately identify promising opportunities—while avoiding costly errors: 

Both updates mean when you look for answers within the PatSnap platform, you get a fuller and more accurate picture of the intellectual property landscape.

*                To be released to customers by the end of July 2017

**             Already live in the PatSnap platform


1.) Standard-essential Patents—get a more accurate picture of the IP landscape


SEPs protect inventions which have been adopted as standard within an industry.

It’s impossible to design around SEPs—if you want to operate within certain markets, you have no choice but to adopt the invention protected by an SEP. An example is the SEP relating to the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard (the technology which allows wireless internet-enabled devices to work).

That’s why holders of SEPs are required to license—under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms—to anyone manufacturing standard-compliant products (including competitors).

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SEP Standard Essential Patents

Source: PatSnap platform

The ability to see SEPs increases the precision of your research

For example, if you think you’ve created an invention or want to expand into a market, you’ll probably run a Freedom to Operate (FTO) search to see whether you can commercialise your ideas.

If you see that the area you want to enter is patent-protected, you might assume there’s no market viability. However, being able to see that the relevant patent is an SEP opens new possibilities. 

You’re not erroneously led to believe that you can’t commercialise your idea—it’s just that there are conditions attached to commercialisation.

This shifts the nature of the decision to be made from being about avoidance, to being about negotiation and adaptation.

When you have a better understanding of the problem, you can design more effective solutions.


2.) Extended patent families—get a more detailed picture of the IP landscape


An extended patent family show you all the patent documents directly or indirectly linked to one priority patent. In general, connections are drawn between patent documents based on national application numbers, international application numbers and domestic relations—for example, divisional applications and continuations.

The ability of any tool to show you full patent families depends on how well it normalises and connects data points—such as priority numbers and application numbers—which reveal the relationship between patents.

Most tools and databases aren’t great at recognising connections between patents—mainly because naming and document organisation conventions can differ between jurisdictions.

For example, if the priority number format from the New Zealand patent office adds a couple of zeros in the middle of the number (NZ00123), but the Japanese patent office does not (JP123), the ability to draw connections between related patents is compromised. 

Fortunately for innovation and IP leaders around the world, PatSnap is simply too sophisticated to be affected by these limitations. 

The data points in every patent that enters the PatSnap platform are “cleaned” and normalised, to match the naming and document organisation conventions of every other patent in our database. 

This means you get the full picture of every patent family—no branches of the tree are inadvertently severed.

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Extended Patent Families

Source: PatSnap platform

The ability to see full patent families increases the depth of your research

For example, if you’re doing competitor analysis and spot a patent of interest, PatSnap will show you related patents filed across all jurisdictions.

You would see whether your competitor has invested heavily in a specific area by continually adding patents to the family (each new patent is a hefty expense), and whether it is expanding into new geographies.

This also enhances the scope of FTO searches. You might think you have freedom to operate in Japan, using a technology that was patented in the US—but extended families would reveal infringement dangers lurking in related patents filed overseas. 

Once you get a taste of how much insight and power our deep learning algorithms can extract from huge data sets, you’ll struggle to go back to flying blind.


“Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it.”

|Chip & Dan Heath, Authors of Made to Stick, Switch|


Find out how the PatSnap platform makes your life easier—see a walkthrough in our next webinar 


Jarrod Britton, Head of Product Support at PatSnap, will walk you through the best ways to uncover the insight you need, using PatSnap.

That way, we won’t have to tell you it’s the most powerful tool for increasing innovation productivity and profitability—you’ll see for yourself.

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