Feb 11, 2017

Company Assessment / Due Diligence - For Acquisition (M&A) using Patent metrics (IP / Patent Portfolio Strength)

Patent metrics such as citations, grant lag, market size (jurisdictions / regions / countries marked as priority extensions), number of broad IPC classes, and number of claims and their word count as well as their complexity are all well known factors and parameters used to judge the strength (legal, commercial and to an extent technical) of the patent or a group of patents (portfolio).

One factor that gives an indication of the overall technological backbone of a company in most technological areas is the strength of the patents it has in the product range it focuses on.

This indication or assessment of the stability of the technological dependability might be of interest to a company or group looking to acquire the company.

One way of looking at understanding this stability (the sustainability of the innovativeness of the company) is to understand if the lead inventors of its key patents or core patents of its focused product range (or a product range that has the maximum profitability / market share) are still working in the company.

Going a step further, it is also interesting to know two other related aspects:
  1. If the lead inventors are still with the company, how has their role grown (with respect to the time they spent)
  2. If the lead inventors have left the company, where have they gone? what is the current focus?
    1. Have they branched off with their own company?
      1. Is this branch off in anyway connected to the company under due diligence?
    2. Have they moved to a competitor?
This information can be transformed into an index for getting a quantitative measure or can be kept qualitative to form key takeaway guidelines on the company's talent retention strategy as well as the overall competitive forces acting on the company and its focused product range / application area.