Critical business decisions involving bids, proposals, mergers, acquisitions and other corporate strategies must be based on timely and accurate business information for the survival of a corporation. Systematic data gathering, study and analysis of the operating environment for a company is now called “competitive intelligence” or "business intelligence". The practice of CI involves developed systematic processes to transform information into knowledge for effective corporate decisions. Most major Fortune 500 firms now have CI units, and the Society of Competitive Intelligence (SCIP) has 7,000 members in 55 countries.
Companies compete in the areas of products, corporate organization, manufacturing, marketing, strategic alliances, financials, reputation, and technology. The focus of this presentation is technology, for which patents and other forms of Intellectual Property are often good indicators. When analyzing technological development in a field, the first indicators may be rumors, gossip, and "gray literature". The first concrete evidence of a new product, drug or industrial process may be a published patent document, often a patent application.
Analysis of intellectual property holdings may reveal a great deal about a competing corporation's technology strategies. Patent and other IP data is widely available publicly from a variety of free and fee-based sources, and is standardized to a high degree. We perform CI analysis to collate, map and chart patent holdings to indicate patent filings over time, density/frequency in specific technologies, international equivalents, citation history, and activity of particular individuals, companies or groups.
The thrust of a competing corporation’s current and future technology development can be analyzed by reviewing its IP portfolio. The geographic coverage of the IP indicates global market strategies. The age of patents and frequency of filing disclose the product life cycle and maturity of technology. Citation counts reveal the importance of a patent within the industry. A look at the inventors on research teams may indicate personnel trends in R&D management. Professional analysis of the quality of patents reveals how well a core technology is protected.