Newcomer Enters Patent Measuring | October 19, 2009 Issue - Vol. 87 Issue 42 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 42 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: October 19, 2009

Newcomer Enters Patent Measuring

R&D: Dow, BASF back new method for assessing impact
Department: Business
Keywords: patents, intellectual property

A new company, PatentSight, is entering the growing business of assessing patents to measure the effectiveness of corporate R&D. Its Patent Asset Index is being backed by BASF and Dow Chemical, the world’s two largest chemical companies.

The index was created by Holger Ernst, a professor at Germany’s Otto Beisheim School of Management. Ernst and a colleague have launched PatentSight to market the approach, which assesses metrics such as number of patents filed, citations to patents, and global patent coverage.

Dow and BASF say it’s time for a new way of analyzing patents. “The nature of R&D has changed significantly in the past decade; however, the methods for analyzing the performance of R&D organizations have not changed,” says William F. Banholzer, Dow’s chief technology officer.

Support from BASF and Dow is not surprising, perhaps, given that BASF leads PatentSight’s overall Patent Asset Index and Dow leads in Technology Relevance, a measure of how often patents are cited in other patents.

In fact, the Patent Board, a competitor, ranks DuPont as the leader in overall patent strength in its report on the chemical industry. BASF comes in at number two, and Dow at number three.

Scott Oldach, president of the Patent Board, says the main difference between the two indexes is that his tracks U.S. patent filings whereas PatentSight’s tracks global filings. He acknowledges that the new firm has added an interesting new function—the Patent Board itself is in the process of globalizing—but he cautions that inaccuracies can arise if disparate patent systems aren’t carefully harmonized.

U.S. patents’ enforceability makes them a good yardstick for measuring corporate innovation, notes P. Michael Walker, DuPont’s chief intellectual property counsel, who speaks highly of the Patent Board. Walker credits such analysis for raising the value of patents in the eyes of the investment community.

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