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SYSTEM FOR AND METHOD OF LINKING PRODUCT REPRESENTATIONS WITH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INFORMATION

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004767D
Publication Date: 2001-May-08

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The present invention is a system for and method of linking product representations, such as text descriptions or graphic representations, to a variety of product information, which may include intellectual property data (e.g., relevant patents, time remaining to patent expiration, maintenance fee payment), and sales and marketing data (e.g., geographic areas, competition, and product revenues and profit). The method includes creating a database containing product and intellectual property information, creating views from the database, creating bi-directional links between the product representations and the product and intellectual property information views, and placing the linked information into a computer for use. Both the product representations and the product and intellectual property views may have multiple layers of hyperlinked files to provide additional levels of detail on a product.

This text was extracted from a WORD97 document.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 12% of the total text.

SYSTEM FOR AND METHOD OF LINKING PRODUCT REPRESENTATIONS WITH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY INFORMATION

Business Background of the Invention

Intellectual property protection of products has become a cornerstone of business strategy, as demonstrated by a steady and significant increase in the annual number of issued patents. Patents provide protection to companies; however, the existence and extent of product protection is often questionable, particularly when a company offers complex and/or multiple products, or products that evolve technically over time. For example, companies that manufacture multiple products track multiple sources of information, such as document sales, marketing, and intellectual property data for each of their products. Product offerings are dynamic; a product that does not bring in sufficient revenue is likely to be discontinued. However, without a connection between products and intellectual property information, activities such as paying patent maintenance fees may continue regardless of product sales and revenue. Multiple patents may cover certain products, further complicating the relationship.

In addition, when a product technically evolves and the fundamental design changes over time, a patent that once protected that product may in fact no longer protect it. Presenting the relationship between product and intellectual property information in a meaningful way is thus beneficial to a company, and is currently difficult to accomplish. A company that builds a tool to effectively relate products and intellectual property information will offer a valuable benefit to companies that require a way of understanding and acting on the relationship between products and intellectual property.

Problems Solved by the Invention

How to facilitate a link between product representations and relevant intellectual property information?

Currently, a person wishing to relate product information with intellectual property information must research each component manually. A list of products and patents may exist, but pursuing the product representation for a given patent, or pursuing a patent for a given product representation is usually performed by hand. What is needed is a way to facilitate a link between product representations and relevant intellectual property information.

How to quickly determine what patents correspond to specific products?

Although a requirement exists to mark products with applicable patents, many companies do not comply with the requirement. As a result, it is difficult to know which patents pertain to which products, even within one's own company. What is needed is a way to quickly determine what patents correspond to specific products.

How to link market and revenue information with the need to pay maintenance fees for a specific product's patents?

Companies spend large amounts of money on patent maintenance fees that ma...