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Technology Trends

Predicting the future through a patent lens

Patent Technology Trends

Patents are the largest library of scientific information in the world and provide compelling insight into the future outlook for technology. There are several technology trends that can be identified by analyzing patent data. Patents related to AI and machine learning have been growing rapidly in recent years.

Cipher automates the monitoring of the technology landscape enabling you to track the technologies of today and discover unknown owners of disruptive innovation.

This Innovation Intelligence can support your portfolio optimisation and be the key to your Intellectual property strategy. Overall, analyzing patent data can provide valuable insights into emerging technology trends and help companies stay ahead of the curve in their respective industries.

With improvements in AI technology and other analytics platforms like Cipher, today we are able to understand the numbers of patents that are relevant to certain technology areas at a push of a button.

Jeremiah Chan, Head of Patents, Meta

Have you ever asked these questions?

How can we use patents to predict the future?

Predicting the future is notoriously hard. That said, patents are filed well ahead of products and services being launched. For this reason, there is a correlation between trends in patented technologies and the technology and product roadmaps of their owners.

How can patent data be made actionable for the CTO office?

The CTO must choose which technologies will best enhance an organisation’s revenues. Substantial resources are invested in technology scouting and forecasting to both direct the selection of technologies and to assist the associated “buy v build” decisions. Trends in patented technology can support scouting and provide invaluable competitive intelligence to support this activity.

How can we identify new technology trends from patent data?

It is tempting to believe that because all patents (by legal definition) must be new, then all patent data reveals technology trends. While this is somewhat true, it’s not actionable. There are two dimensions to this. First, when an organisation moves into a new technology area. Patenting trends help forecast these strategic changes in direction. Secondly, when there is a notable trend in an established technology area. Cipher has developed new Machine Learning approaches to spotting what’s new from more of the same.

If these are your issues, Cipher can help you.

Cipher gave us the ability to understand the technology landscape and was an important foundation layer in creating a strategy for protecting our innovations whilst enabling us to understand how best to deal with others in potential conflict areas.

Lucy Wojcik, Head of IP, Ocado

Cipher has been world class for us. It’s easy to use, it provides very powerful visual representations of what we own and importantly what our competitors have.

Dr. Bobby Mukherjee, Chief Counsel, Intellectual Property and Technology Law, BAE Systems PLC.

Technology Trends

How can I spot a trend when I don’t know where to look?

This is classic Rumsfeld “known unknowns”. This is where Cipher’s ability to read 61m patents an hour comes into its own. The “unknown” is simple; the patent universe minus what you already know. By combining Cipher’s Machine Learning classification (using technologies you define) and Cipher’s clustering to analyse the rest, Cipher enables you to reveal the unknowns.

What’s the best way to track our competitors?

If you have a technology or product taxonomy and a known competitor set (or threat list), then Cipher has the capability to automate alerting and forecasting, so that you are always aware of the outlook for new patenting activity. Because Cipher filters out the noise from messy patent data, Cipher alerts can be directed straight to the subject matter expert responsible for that technology or business area.

How will we know if there is a new entrant into our key markets?

It is inevitable that your competitors of tomorrow will be different from today, not least in this era of disruptive technologies such as cloud, AI/ML, robotics and the internet of things (IoT) more generally. The solution is to automate the scanning of the global landscape by reference to your technology taxonomy. Cipher alerts include the patenting activity of both the companies you know about and the new entrants and start-ups from around the world that you would never have known about otherwise.

How can I track trends in emerging technologies that are new to me and my organisation?

The solution is one of definition. Our experience indicates that the question is never “what’s new in the world” but can be articulated as a technology scope. At this point Cipher’s ability to classify (tag) and monitor patenting trends and outlook, provides an objective and repeatable way of accessing data and analytics.

What’s the workaround to deal with the 18-month blind spot?

There isn’t one. That said, many technology trends take years to develop and much longer before products and services appear on the market. Monitoring patenting trends improves your understanding of the market, and often needs to be combined with other sources of competitive and market intelligence such as scientific literature, trade shows, etc.

Insights and Events


A global view of innovation

This Cipher report provides a breakdown of the world’s inventions and activity into individual technology sectors.
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Sustainability through a patent lens

Which patent innovations are helping to combat climate change? From packaging to batteries to electric vehicles, we look through a patent lens at sustainable technologies of the future.
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Competitive Intelligence – how can benchmarking data enhance your patenting strategy?

View our webinar where we hear from industry experts on how benchmarking data can enhance your patent strategy and best practice on communicating this analysis to those outside of IP teams.
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Intellectual Property Strategy

Having an Intellectual Property strategy is key for all growing organisations today
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Storytelling with Data

Our guests discuss the importance of being able to demonstrate the value of patents within a business.
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Universal Technology Taxonomy – Insight

Introducing the world’s first Universal Technology Taxonomy. This article sheds light on why Cipher launched the world’s first universal technology to classify patents and example analysis using UTT.
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Case Studies

Seagate on keeping up with technology changes

Chief Intellectual Property Counsel at Seagate, Bob Pechman explains the pressures of supporting the business during a period of rapid technological change and how Cipher helps see the patent landscape through Seagate’s own technology lens.
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BAE Systems on the importance of competitive intelligence in disruptive technology environments

Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property and Technology Law, Dr. Bobby Mukherjee, explains how his IP team uses Cipher to help communicate the importance of IP internally and to navigate complex technology landscapes.
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Richardson Oliver Insights on the challenges of IP Teams

COO of Richardson Oliver Insights, Erik Oliver, talks about the challenges faced by IP teams with managing high value portfolios and the increased demand for both better data and better ways to communicate the value of patents.
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Portfolio review request


The Cipher team are able to use the supervised machine learning platform to scan patent activity for any company in the world.

Submit details of the three companies you’d like us to review and we’ll do the rest. Try us out now.

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Why Cipher

Trained by humans, built by machine to give you independently verified accuracy

“Cipher’s classifiers enable you to understand the patent landscape or analyze a portfolio. Combining expertise in both IP and data science, Cipher provides you with solutions to the strategic problems patent owners face, with quick and accurate results.” Erik Oliver, Richardson Oliver Insights

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With Cipher you can also…

Competitive Intelligence

Gather competitor intelligence

Understand who’s doing what by automating patent to technology mapping.

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Cross Licensing

Model cross licensing

Combine patent and revenue data to determine rational licensing outcomes.

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patents budget management

Manage your budget

Justify patent budgets to CFOs and others to communicate the impact of your investment.

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Portfolio Optimisation connecting cogs

Optimise your portfolio

Ensure you have the right portfolio to meet your strategic patenting objectives.

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Tackle inbound patent assertion

Be prepared with evidence to create a fast and effective threat assessment.

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Benchmark your portfolio

Assess your portfolio in comparison to other owners through your own technology lens.

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Monetise your portfolio

Identify opportunities to create value through licensing or sale of patent assets.

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Conduct Due Diligence

Automate manual reviews for efficient execution of M&A and licensing transactions.

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Improve your patent strategy now

Speak to the Cipher team today.

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