WOT-i Ltd

Consultancy in Operations and Technology Innovation

Prior Art Capability Mapping

Your company might be considering developing a new product, or a significant product improvement. At this stage, you might have some early concept designs and an outline idea of what technical capabilities and manufacturing methods would be needed to develop, validate and manufacture that new product.

These new capabilities and methods would probably represent a huge investment, so before launching into an expensive Research and Development programme, it is worthwhile to stop and take stock of the technical options and the potential new product value in the market place.

Prior art mapping should consider all possible publicly available information: this includes patents, scientific journal papers, press releases, industry-sector regulations, and many more types of publication. Careful reading of such information can determine:

  • Whether someone has had a similar idea before, and protected it with a patent. This is a particular problem if the patent owner is your competitor.
  • Whether there are capabilities under current development that could enhance the capability of your product, or render it obsolete.
  • Whether there are competitors already positioning to launch a product of similar capabilities to your product.
  • Whether there are regulations, or regulations under development, that would conflict with the plans you have for manufacture or operation of your new product. Conversely, would the new regulations open an opportunity for your product that is not currently viable for your competitors' existing products?

A thorough study of this sort could take a substantial period of time, and it might be time that you want your in-house specialists to be spending on the development of the product, and not on this essential, but background activity.

This type of work is easily parcelled up as an external work-package, to be managed on a subcontract basis.

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