Filing Analytics: the new standard in IP business development

Published in World IP Review

Practice Insight says its flagship product is a “secret weapon” for IP law firms. WIPR spoke to Doris Spielthenner, general manager at Practice Insight, to find out how its Filing Analytics tool can be used to benefit IP law firms.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the whole world is easily accessible via a few clicks on your computer or smartphone. With technology advancing and providing IP law firms with more resources, the opportunities to connect with potential partners and prospects across the world are extensive.

That’s where the IP big data company Practice Insight steps in. Its business development tool, Filing Analytics, brings together billions of datasets every year from various national and international patent offices and transforms that information into one concise and user-friendly database that covers all major jurisdictions.

For example, the user can select a law firm in Japan and see how many patent applications it refers to US law firms for filing, and vice versa. The user can also view which applicants are behind the filings, and which law firms receive the referral work, including all filing details and more.

“Filing Analytics gives users insight into case-flow between IP law firms and applicants,” explains Doris Spielthenner, general manager at Practice Insight. “It shows reciprocal business relationships between IP law firms in different countries. This helps IP law firms understand where they can grow their business and with whom.”

The tool gives law firms business intelligence of who they should target and where they can expand their business. “The biggest benefit is clearly for IP law firms. Filing Analytics helps them to grow their business by gaining insight into where they might be able to get additional market share and where their market growth could come from,” adds Spielthenner. The data is obtained directly from patent offices, including the European Patent Office. Depending on the patent office, the data is updated weekly or monthly.

Similar to Google Maps, Filing Analytics has a Map Explore feature that allows the user to see all top filers and law firms representing them, including their market share, and one can even filter for certain technology areas.

“For example, if you’re a Chinese attorney and you want to win more business in the pharmaceutical/bio industry in California, you can use the tool to plan your trip and set up meetings with potential new clients,” says Spielthenner.

She adds that Filing Analytics saves law firms a lot of time, effort and money in marketing and business development efforts by helping them understand which markets, applicants and firms they should be focused on.

“You can streamline your spend because you might choose to avoid visiting certain countries, agents or applicants once you see you have no opportunities there. For example, you may realize that Firm X only ever sends their cases to the one competitor firm in your country,” she says.

“On the flipside, you can focus efforts on those areas where you can see an opening. For example, you might see that Firm X has just started to diversify their referrals into your country, now becoming an attractive target.”

Easy to use

One of the strongest benefits of Filing Analytics is its accessibility. As well as enabling the printing of necessary documents before a business trip to prepare yourself, Filing Analytics has been designed to flourish online. Spielthenner explains: “We offer Filing Analytics as an app on your smart device such as a tablet or phone. Many patent attorneys are tech-savvy and are very happy to use the tool on their mobile phone when they are at a conference or business meeting. Filing Analytics lets them prepare in detail what is the potential volume of cases, and who they should be meeting with in the first place.”

Without the development of technology, Filing Analytics would be nothing more than a pipe dream. Spielthenner says that technology has “tremendously” helped Practice Insight deliver its products. For example, the development of big data technologies has helped structure and process data in a different way, and cloud technology has helped with the storage of information. Both have led to higher data integrity, real-time updates, and a smooth customer experience. Although she acknowledges that there is positive growth in the IP data information products market, she recognises that data analytics technology has been growing more in other industries.

She says the legal industry is embracing technological advances, but can be slow to adopt new tools—especially IP law firms. “We see very good uptake, especially with leading, or young growth-hungry firms, but it’s probably developing more slowly compared to other markets that utilise data analytics, or even business development tools.”

While there are plenty of opportunities for Filing Analytics, there are still some challenges, the main obstacle being correlating data from different countries. Traditionally speaking, says Spielthenner, international and national patent offices have different numbering systems, or alternative methods for gathering information from domestic law firms, which can result in some missing information.

While there are different challenges depending on the region, Practice Insight has the necessary tools in place to overcome these hurdles and clean the data. “Filing Analytics is a successful product because we’re the first to actually create these unique cross linkages and use machine learning algorithms to overcome data gaps that are existing in these databases,” comments Spielthenner.

“Previously, business development managers and marketing managers in law firms had to collect data from many different sources to maybe get 60% visibility of what is going on. It could take them days or weeks to compile a report just for one law firm or one country. Now they have near complete information available at their fingertips in Filing Analytics.”

Law firms are often “taken aback” by the depth of information Filing Analytics provides, says Spielthenner. It’s a “fantastic tool” to sell because of the initial reaction that law firms express when they realise how helpful it can be. Filing Analytics sells itself. “In most cases, what we do is show an attorney the profile of their firm or a competitor, and they’re always amazed how anyone can have all this information about them.”

Filing Analytics can play a critical part in an IP law firm’s operations and give it an edge over the competition. “After we launched Filing Analytics at the INTA Annual Meeting in 2016 it was initially used as a secret weapon in the market,” claims Spielthenner. “The users did not want to tell their competitors about the tool. Nobody wanted to admit that they are using it. “It was the best-kept secret weapon in the market. In each of the different geographies, everyone wanted to be first and to keep the competition out. “In the meantime Filing Analytics has become widely spread around the world, and you can almost not afford not to have it if you operate in the IP market.”

So what is next for Filing Analytics? Spielthenner says Practice Insight is continuously developing the product further. One of the main driving areas is to broaden its horizons to include more comprehensive data of certain jurisdictions. “We are expanding the depth of our database for countries such as South America or India, to offer a more comprehensive picture for the local attorneys,” she explains. “We will also integrate additional functionalities that will help attorneys establish business relationships. We’re certainly seeing a big growth of interest in Asia at the moment.”

New products

Practice Insight has had a busy period launching new services. In March 2017, it introduced Citation Eagle, the world’s first fully automated patent citation monitoring software. Citation Eagle is a marketing and business growth tool for patent attorneys, alerting them about relevant opposition or IP opportunities pertaining to cases they originated. The service scans more than 90 IP offices daily, allowing the attorney to protect their clients globally and without effort. With innovation at its forefront, Practice Insight continues to develop new software designed to help IP law firms take on the industry.