How to Identify Licensing and Selling Candidates in a Patent Portfolio

Last updated: June 2021

Introduction

Identifying Licensing and Selling Candidates: Internal Technology Relevance (iTR) and External Technology Relevance (eTR) 

Identifying Potential Licensees: Citation Analysis

 

Introduction

Determining licensing opportunities using traditional analysis techniques is often very time-consuming and ultimately subjective. By using derivative indicators of the Technology Relevance and citation analysis approaches, this task becomes much more manageable and objective.

PatentSight can help you objectively identify the most influential patent families in your portfolio and then find companies that may need or want to license your technology.

 

Identifying Licensing and Selling Candidates: Internal Technology Relevance (iTR) and External Technology Relevance (eTR)

The → Technology Relevance measures the importance of an invention for technical development. This citation-based indicator is calculated based on the number of worldwide prior art citations received from later patent publications. In general, we do not distinguish between self-citations (= by the same owner) and third-party citations (= by a different owner) when calculating the Technology Relevance.

However, to obtain a better insight into the relevance of a certain patent family for own R&D and for third-parties, PatentSight offers two derivative indicators of the Technology Relevance:
the internal Technology Relevance (iTR) and the external Technology Relevance (eTR).

  • The internal Technology Relevance is calculated based solely on self-citations (= citations made by the owner of the patent family) and can help in identifying patent families that are important for an owner's own R&D.
  • The external Technology Relevance is calculated based solely on third-party citations (= citations made by different owners) and can help in identifying patent families that are relevant for other patent owners.
In this, the sum of both derivative indicators equals the total Technology Relevance:
iTR + eTR = TR

 

You can use the template "External vs. Internal Technology Relevance", to visualize the distribution of patent families by their internal and external Technology Relevance.


By assuming four areas, you can depict the internal and external relevancies:

  • Top left area
    Patent families with a low iTR and a high eTR may be important for the innovation of third parties and can therefore be considered as selling or licensing candidates.
  • Top right area
    Patent families with a high iTR and a high eTR may be important for technical development in general and can therefore be considered as candidates to keep or license.
  • Bottom left area
    Patent families with a low iTR and a low eTR may have little significance for ongoing R&D activities and can therefore be considered as pruning candidates.
  • Bottom right area
    Patent families with a high iTR and a low eTR may be crucial for an owner's own R&D activities and can therefore be important for preemptive protection.

In order to extract selling and licensing candidates, you can also use these measures in the search filter.

This search query uses the owner RELX as example and has identified 14 patent families that:

  • belong to the owner RELX,
  • have an internal Technology Relevance of "0",
  • have an external Technology Relevance of "1" or higher, and
  • are between 5 and 15 years of age from their date of first filing.

This search query filters for RELX patent families that could be potential licensing candidates based on their internal and external Technology Relevance. At the same time, the search query excludes young patent families that still might become relevant for RELX' own R&D activities as well as old families that may no longer be licensable.

 

Identifying Potential Licensees: Citation Analysis

Once you have identified potential licensing candidates within your patent portfolio (here: RELX), you might want to find out which owners are citing these patent families and could therefore be potential licensees.

To obtain a first overview of potential licensees, you can tag your licensing candidates (here: "RELX Licensing Candidates"), filter for active patent families that are citing these licensing candidates, and select a template that is grouped by owners. 
(For more details regarding the filter settings, see also → Filter Elements for Citation Analysis)

In this example, more than 90 patent families of the owner OneTrust are citing one or more RELX patent families that have been identified as potential licensing candidates.

If you spot a potential licensee, you can click on the owner of interest and use one of the drilldown options to add this owner to the search filter on a new sheet. 

Following the drilldown, you can examine which technology fields the patent families that are citing one or more of your licensing candidates belong to. Useful visualizations include, e.g., the template "Sunburst Chart": 

To view all patent families that are citing your licensing candidate(s) in detail, you can also open the → Result List:

 

Next, you might want to find out which of your patent families are cited by the potential licensee (here: OneTrust). To do so, you can apply the exact opposite filter settings.

This search query has identified 1 patent family that:

  • belongs to the tag "RELX Licensing Candidates" as defined in the previous step, and
  • is cited by the owner OneTrust.
(For more details regarding the filter settings, see also → Filter Elements for Citation Analysis)

 

Finally, you can view your licensing candidate(s) in the → Result List: