Patent portfolio analysis: Helping you turn patents into a strategic asset

To turn a patent portfolio into a strategic asset, you need to see both the forest and the trees. Within this blog, we explore the process and value of optimizing your patent strategy through a three-phase patent portfolio analysis.

Patents are more than legal instruments. They are powerful business assets and keys to commercial success. This point of view is widespread among corporate executives and legal departments. From a recent survey of 275 IP intellectual property (IP) professionals, 75% view patents as an important business driver and necessary for establishing a dominant market position.

Yet, turning patents into strategic assets falls outside of the traditional role for many IP professionals. How can you optimize patent strategies to help executives, business development professionals and investors understand the strategic value of these intangible assets?

In a new white paper from ClarivateTM, Strategic portfolio analysis: A three-part guide to optimize your patent strategy, we provide comprehensive insights to help you approach patent portfolio analysis in three phases, considering the past, present and future positions of your company’s patents.

The value of objectively optimizing a patent portfolio

Developing your company’s patent portfolio as a strategic asset requires careful evaluation of each patent. This includes examining a patent’s value, purpose, and alignment to a company’s strategy.

A targeted and objective patent analysis allows your company to optimize its entire patent portfolio, and help to:

  • Align patent strategy with business strategy
  • Reveal under-utilized patents that might be sold or licensed
  • Eliminate unnecessary patent maintenance costs
  • Find gaps in your portfolio that may warrant in-licensing, partnering or acquisition.
  • Optimize coverage by enhancing patent protection in some areas while reducing others
  • Identify justifiable expenses by associating them with value capture

Strategic patent portfolio analysis enables you to capture in-depth perspective and gain the insight your organization needs, but it can be challenging to know where to start.

A three-phase approach to comprehensive patent portfolio analysis

A patent portfolio analysis can be broken into three phases: audit, benchmarking, and opportunity identification. The portfolio audit phase gives you a snapshot of the historical portfolio. The benchmarking phase places your company’s existing portfolio within today’s competitive environment. Lastly, the opportunity identification phase suggests options for future management.

Each phase of a patent portfolio analysis is intended to provide clear insights to allow you to take the right next steps to improve the strength, value, and strategic alignment of your patent portfolio.

Phase 1: Portfolio Audit

Your first step in a patent portfolio analysis is to audit your portfolio and asses its size, global reach, persistence, and vitality. During this audit, you can use multiple factors to determine patent strength and, as a result, gain a clear understanding of which assets are more valuable and aligned to your company’s current business strategy.

The results from this first phase not only prepare your portfolio for benchmarking, but also facilitate right-sizing and cost-saving recommendations. There are a variety of tools and various methodologies, like Clarivate Patent Search and Analytics, for determining relative patent strength. These steps can be done on your own, or with the help of external experts.

Phase 2: Benchmarking

After you audit your portfolio, it is time to move to the second phase of a patent portfolio analysis. In the benchmarking phase, you place your patent portfolio within the larger context of the competitive marketplace.

At this stage, you can incorporate new parameters to the analysis, such as prosecution success, prosecution breadth, and external recognition. You then compare these same parameters to your competitors’ patents. This allows you to calculate a relative quality score to evaluate the strength of your patent portfolio in comparison to the competitive environment. Tools such as Derwent Innovation™ ThemeScape can quickly compare your position in a specific space to your competitors.

The benchmarking phase should give you a much better understanding of how your portfolio fits within the competitive environment. The insights from this phase may help your organization identify potential companies to partner with or acquire, or assets that could be licensed or sold.

Phase 3: Opportunity Identification

The third phase of a patent portfolio analysis is opportunity identification. During this phase, you examine your patent portfolio to find indicators of potential commercial interest. These opportunities can be grouped into two main types: cost savings and profitable business growth.

Cost savings: The information you gained so far can be used to formulate options for lowering costs and leveraging the portfolio for improved revenue. With the right information, pruning the portfolio of non-aligned properties becomes one of the easier tasks of IP management.

Business growth: Opportunities for profitable business growth are discernible with the right tools and experience, like Patent Intelligence Software from Clarivate. Sources for business opportunities may come from a deeper analysis of the patents held by your competitors, customers, other participants along the value chain, and even other markets.


Patent portfolio analysis enables your company to fully utilize one of its most valuable assets, its patent portfolio. Using the three-phased approach, in combination with the right tools, data and expertise, you can deliver the insights needed to capitalize on opportunities and maximize business results.

Interested in learning more? Download the report for a deep dive on this topic: Strategic portfolio analysis: A three-part guide to optimize your patent strategy