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What can we help you with?

What Is The Best Way To Do A Competitor Search?

You have just found a new competitor who is starting to move into your technology space and you want to view their patent portfolio. The only problem is you have no idea of the best way of doing this. Can PatSnap help you with this?

The answer to this question is certainly yes and within this article, I will illustrate the method used to do this.

The way to do this is to use the search commands related to Assignee/Inventor/Attorney.

The reason why you might want to select these are as follows:

  • All Assignees (search command ALL_AN): This is a combined search field using five different assignees with those being standardized current assignee, current assignee, standardized original assignee, original assignee and DOCDB assignee. This will enable you to build a full picture of all the patents that your competitor has either initially owned or now has ownership of and will give you a good idea of the technology fields they tend to operate in. Also, the use of the standardized assignee commands will enable you to get around the variations in name companies often use when they file patents.
  • Standardized Current Assignee (search command ANCS): This will search for assignees in the cases where they are the current owner of a patent with consideration of our standardization algorithm. You would use this for the same reason as for why you would use "Current Assignee" but the consideration of our standardization algorithm will again get you around the variation in name companies often use when they file patents. It is also useful since it is the search field we use to calculate the number of patents that a company owns within our Insights platform (if you do not yet have Insights, please speak to your account manager if you are interested).
  • Current Assignee (search command ANC): This will search for assignees in the cases where they are the current owner of a patent. This considers the first case where they are the original owner of the patent and no reassignment has taken place and the second case where a patent they didn't originally own has now been assigned to them. This will enable you to see the patents that your competitor considers especially important and gives you a strong idea of the technology fields that they consider the most important as well.
  • Standardized Original Assignee (Applicant) (search command ANS): This will search for assignees in the cases where they were the assignees originally listed on the patent documents. This search field also considers our standardization algorithm which gets around the variations in name companies often use when they file patents. 
  • Original Assignee (Applicant) (search command AN): This will search for assignees in the cases where they were the assignees originally listed on the patent documents. This will enable you to see the patents that your competitor have applied for and will allow you to see which technology fields that they want to block their competitors (which may well include you) from operating in.
  • DOCDB Assignee (search command DOCDB_AN): This will search for assignees as they are listed on the DOCDB database provided by the EPO. This could be potentially useful as it gives you the assignee names as they are listed on the EPO register which you may be more familiar with.     
  • First Current Assignee (search command F_AN): This will search for current assignees where they are the first assignee (in the cases where there is a match up between the original and current assignees) listed on the patent document. This is useful since often in the cases where there is more than one assignee for a patent, the first assignee is likely to be the most important. Often what happens is that the first assignee is the company and the other assignees are people who work within that company. So if you search using the "First Assignee" search field you will both be able to see patents that are considered important enough to your competitor that they had made sure they are listed first on the patent document and you will be able to remove people who share their name with your competitors from the search. An example of this is Ferrari, since it is both the name of an Italian car company and a common Italian surname (as is the case with its founder Enzo Ferrari).
  • Standardized Current Assignee Type (search command ANS_TYPE): This will search for patents that have an assignee from a particular type. These types are "Company", "Person", "Academy", "Government" and "Other". (You can find out more about how exactly we define each of these within this article: What is the Standardised Assignee Type?). This can be useful since there are cases where a particular name will correspond to more than one of these types.
  • Inventor (search command IN): This will search for the inventors originally listed on patent documents. This is useful since it will enable you to see the technology fields that a particular inventor works within and if they work within your technology area it could be worth trying to collaborate with them.
  • Standardized Inventor (search command INS): This will search for the inventors originally listed on patent documents. This search field also considers our standardization algorithm which gets around the variations in the name that can be used for a particular inventor.
  • First Inventor (search F_IN): This will search for inventors where they are the first inventor listed on the patent document. This is useful since often in the cases where there is more than one inventor for a patent, the first inventor is likely to be the most important. So if you search using the "First Inventor" search field you will be able to identify patents that a particular inventor was considered the most important and will give you an even stronger idea of the technology fields that they excel in.  
  • Agency (search command ATC): This will search for law firms that advise companies regarding the filing of patents. This search field would usually be used in a competitor search in the case where your competitor is a law firm and you want to see which companies they tend to work with or which technology fields they tend to support. However, you could use this search field if you were not a legal firm in combination with the other assignee search fields to see which agencies your competitors are getting advice from regarding their patents and which specific technology fields they are working with this agency in.
  • Attorney (search command AT): This will search for attorneys that have advised companies regarding the filing of patents. This search field would usually be used in a competitor search in the case where your competitor is a law firm and you want to see which companies their attorneys tend to work with or which technology fields they tend to support. However, you could use this search field if you were not a legal firm in combination with the other assignee search fields to see which attorneys your competitors are getting advice from regarding their patents and which specific technology fields they are working with this attorney in.                   

   


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