A recent book entitled Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way to Be Smart (available at http://www.amazon.com/Super-Crunchers-Thinking-Numbers-Smart/dp/0553805401) presents an intriguing perspective of how forward-thinking companies can use the wealth of data available today to obtain an edge against competitors. The book, written by Ian Ayres, an econometrician and law professor at Yale University, posits essentially that he who crunches the available data will come out ahead in this modern world of massive amounts of data. A detailed review of this book from Newsweek is found here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/40860.
The “Super Crunchers” premise applies strongly to the world of patents. Indeed, when leading companies such as P &G, GE and others engage in multi-faceted corporate intelligence programs, it cannot be a controversial to contend that those companies that mine and apply the results of data analysis of both their own patent portfolios and those of competitors will obtain valuable information that can be deployed to make better business decisions.
Moreover, the application of patent data dovetails nicely with the modern world of innovation and product development, which focuses sustainable and disciplined internal processes rather than the traditional methodologies that favored, in large part, intuition. Part of these processes can and should be continued review of your company’s patent portfolios, and those of competitors.