Anaqua’s AcclaimIP Updates Track Patents’ Competitive Edge

The newly released features promise to measure how well patents fare at blocking competitors.

Friday, September 15, 2017
LegalTech News

By Gabrielle Orum Hernández, Legaltech News

As legal analytics tools begin to mature in the market, many providers are moving from tracking existing processes and internal data into more predictive, educated guesswork.

Boston-based Anaqua has released a set of updates to its AcclaimIP tools that will allow users to measure the relative value and success of organizations’ patent portfolios, not just through their citations, but by how often they block innovation from competitors. Matt Troyer, director of patent analytics for Anaqua, explained that the new release provides patent managers access to a new stream of information.  

“If you’re the prosecuting attorney, you get the rejection letter,” Troyer explained, “If you’re Ford, you don’t know that you just blocked Toyota, which is who really needs to know.”

Here’s a look at the recent release:

Who it serves: The idea behind the updates, Troyer explained, is to provide data “that you can use defensively against the bad guys.” Ostensibly, any organization with patents to manage over time can use the new AcclaimIP tools to their advantage in this defensive manner, but the competitive edge piece seems like it would play best for organizations who need to corner a particular market, or for those with enormous patent portfolios that can be difficult to track.

What it does: Troyer explained that the tool takes data drawn from over 10,000 different patent examinations to look for forward rejections. “What we wanted to know are which citations were specifically from examiners’ novelty or obviousness arguments,” Troyer explained of the strategy.

How they figured it out: In thinking about how one would back-calculate how successful any given patent is at blocking competitors’ work, my first thought was to look at citations. Troyer explained, however, that the vast majority of both application and examiner citations are “a lot of noise.” Troyer’s team, bolstered by the company’s acquisition of a small patent analysis shop called Patent River last year, instead found that analysis of forward rejections offer a better means of assessing a patent’s specific ability to block competitive innovation.

Are citations really “a lot of noise”? Debatable, but Troyer says yes. “Citations are the most misused metric that exists. It’s not that they’re really difficult to understand, but very few people take the extra second to understand what they mean,” he explained. Checking a basic citation count loses some of the context around where and how patents are cited, meaning you can be getting really different information than you might think.

How do you use this data? Because this strategy of tracking competitiveness is new to the market, it’s sort of unclear how to turn this data into strategic planning for your patent portfolio. Troyer said that the company is working closely with firms and organizations to try to answer that question, but there’s still some work to do. “We’re in the process now of working with our clients to understand how to leverage this. You get a new tool, and all of a sudden people will use it in ways that are not yet known,” he noted.