Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Expanding a professional relationship: how can IP analytics help?

Many people assume that, since intellectual property is a niche topic, IP analytics is a niche within a niche, a recondite art that has little to offer the wider world of commerce in which most of us live. This assumption is wrong. In the first place IP is no longer a niche topic but a mainstream element of practically every manufacturing, distributing and retailing sector both online and off it.  Secondly, IP analytics is far more than an incomprehensible offshoot of so-called Big Data, a jungle of statistics, algebra and algorithms: it is a precise tool that enhances a vast array of fact-based decisions in a real world inhabited by many species of professional advisers, including even traditionally data-illiterate lawyers.

This Case Study, "International Law Firm Wins Patent Licensing Mandate", shows in literally graphic terms exactly how effective the proper use of patent analytics can be, not just in the hands of competing businesses but also when used by a law firm with intellectual property expertise when it competes with other law firms in pitching for a role advising a major corporate player.


The firm wanted to expand its relationship with an existing client in the automotive sector by securing the strategic advisory role in a global patent licensing initiative relating to autonomous vehicles.


A significant client in the automotive sector was looking to appoint one of its panel firms as the lead adviser on an IP licensing project in the field of autonomous vehicles. The firm know that a number of the firms in the ‘beauty parade’ had the capability and credentials necessary to do the work.

Due to intense competition, there is intense pressure to differentiate legal services, in terms of both quality and efficiency. At the time of the pitch, the firm had limited information about the client’s licensing strategy and less than a week to prepare. The challenge was to gain insight into the project with limited time and resources at their disposal.


Access to Cipher enabled the firm to respond to the challenges in the following ways:

1. Clustering

The automotive portfolio was comprised of over 10,000 families. Cipher instantly generated a view of the portfolio at a technology level, which isolated the clusters relating to autonomous vehicles.
Fig 1: Company (Automotive) Clusters
By harnessing the capability to set a specific cluster as a primary focus (driver assistance), the pitch team was immediately able to identify the relevant part of the portfolio.
Fig 2a: Geography
The geographic analysis highlights the European-bias of the portfolio. The age histogram below shows how corporate investment in this area is relatively recent.
Fig 2b: Age
2. Comparables

The starting point for any licensing project of this sort is to understand the patent landscape. Cipher’s ability to identify and analyse companies owning similar portfolios was pivotal at this stage.
Figure 3: Comparables

Cipher provided the flexibility to identify both the major incumbents, and the smaller players. Both of these analytical perspectives are essential to the formulation of a holistic licensing strategy.

This insight bolstered the market research that the team was able to generate from conventional sources.


The firm won the mandate, with client feedback highlighting a number of features of the pitch:

• Specific issues were addressed supported with powerful visualisations, representing a massive improvement on presenting the capabilities of the firm in abstract terms

• Emerging companies were identified by the Cipher report that were not on the radar based on work that had earlier been undertaken by the client

• The scope of the firm’s mandate was extended to include further in-depth portfolio studies, building on the findings presented in the initial Cipher reports.


You can also download a rather more polished version of this Case Study from the Aistemos website here

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