The Role of Carbon Neutrality and Carbon Credits in delivering a Liveable Planet

Bikram Raj Kumar, Co-Founder, ResearchWire Knowledge Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

On climate change, the time for talk is long gone. It’s time to Race to Zero by going Carbon Neutral now, as the lives of humankind as a species literally depends on it. The warnings are dire. Nature has been flashing the code red warning for humanity with extreme weather events for some time. Unless humans want to make living with apocalyptic fires, floods, cyclones and hurricanes their new normal, we ignore these signs at our own peril. The root cause of climate change, – expanding human population, biodiversity loss and pollution trace back to our unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.

The latest Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) data on climate action shows an alarming trend towards missing the goal of capping global temperature rise to the 1.5 °C threshold, as called for in the landmark Paris Accord of 2015. The SDG report released in July 2022, says our window to avert disaster is closing rapidly. It warns that GHG Emissions “will increase by nearly 14% over the next decade under current national commitments to climate action, whereas they need to be reduced by 43% by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5°C.”

Carbon Neutrality is now a must. As the human population surges to the staggering 8 billion mark, if we intend to preserve a liveable planet for future generations, global temperature increase needs to be limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels (from 1850 to 1900).

Regardless of whether you are a country, city, business, other institution or individual, if you have a carbon footprint, you owe it to the planet that hosts you, to do everything in your power to compensate for the damage caused and join the Race to Zero. Pledging to get to Net Zero Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions and achieving that goal, is no longer optional. It’s not a choice that you have the luxury to postpone, ignore or forget. It is a Must Do that has to go on top of your To Do list.

 

What is Carbon Neutral? Why is it imperative?

Carbon Neutrality is that elusive target the world knows it has to accomplish for a clean planet, but has been struggling to reach. It is about creating a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks.

It is the same as Net Zero, which means cutting GHGs to as close to zero as possible with any remaining emissions

carbon

re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans, forests or the soil. GHGs are those deadly emissions released due to unsustainable human activity, leading to a rise in global temperatures and eventually to irreversible climate changes.

To keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C, GHG emissions are targeted to be reduced by 45% by 2030 so as to reach Net Zero by 2050.

 

Zero Carbon = Climate Positive

The only thing better than erasing your carbon footprint and going carbon neutral is to become climate positive. Our holy grail of climate positive action would be to not produce any carbon emissions at all. Going beyond being zero carbon, one could create a carbon sink and go carbon negative by removing more carbon than we emit. We know this is possible because two countries, Burma and Suriname have already achieved this incredibly laudable feat. For the rest of the world to catch up, calls for a major overhaul, a complete transformation of how we produce, consume and move about.  This would imply huge declines in the use of coal, oil, and gas- hydrocarbons that the world is addicted to, and a transition to clean, sustainable renewable sources.

 

Carbon Credits: What are they? How do they work?

A ‘Carbon Credit’ is a permit that allows the entity that holds it to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. One credit permits the emission of a mass equal to one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2).

In effect this is a capitalist solution to an environmental problem that has turned carbon into a priced commodity. When world leaders signed the ‘Kyoto Protocol’ in 1997, they agreed to follow a system of carbon trading, pledging to bring down their emissions by an average of 5% below the 1990 levels. This groundbreaking environmental treaty put a cap on emissions and decided that the countries that wanted to emit more needed to buy carbon credits from countries that emitted less. That’s  how the carbon market was created – a place where carbon credits began to be purchased and sold.

A National Registry in each country sets quotas on the emissions on polluting companies or other organisations which are approved and monitored by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Environmental Agency acts as the national administrator of the Registry and also distributes allowances to the market by auction. If the company emits less CO2 than the set limit they can sell the surplus Carbon Credits to another company who need them to cover their own emissions. If they emit more gases than their set limit they are fined. The receipts of these fines are then invested in projects that reduce pollution, such as planting forests which absorb CO2. Over time the set limits are reduced until the company achieves Net Zero, which means that they are removing as many emissions as they produce.

 

Types of Carbon Credits: Voluntary and Compliance

As the pressure to meet sustainability targets mount the world’s largest companies are turning to carbon credits to offset their environmental footprints, creating potential for a trillion dollar industry.

The carbon trading market is reported to be growing exponentially. The voluntary carbon market, driven by industries to achieve voluntary climate goals, has risen in prominence. According to the Ecosystem Marketplace, a US-based not-for-profit, the total value of transactions in the voluntary carbon market (VCM) hit $1 billion in 2021 for the first time in its history.

In the voluntary carbon market, which by their nature are global, carbon credits are most often created through agricultural or forestry practices, although a credit can be made by nearly any project that reduces, avoids, destroys or captures emissions. Individuals or companies looking to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions can buy those credits through a middleman or those directly capturing the carbon. In the case of a farmer that plants trees, for instance, the landowner gets money; the corporation pays to offset their emissions; and the middleman, if there is one, can earn a profit along the way.

 

‘Compliance market’ for carbon credits

In the compliance market, or involuntary market, governments set a cap on how many tons of emissions certain sectors- oil, transportation, energy or waste management can release.

As per regional regulations, if an oil company, for example, goes over the prescribed emissions limit, it must buy or use saved credits to stay under the emissions cap. If a company stays under that cap, it can save or sell those credits. This is known as a cap-and-trade market. The cap is the amount of GHGs a government will allow to be released into the atmosphere.

This system gives any company an incentive to reduce their emissions and also obtain additional income by selling their surplus credits. The Carbon Credits (known as Carbons) can be traded on the open market through banks, specialist traders or exchanges that list these products.

 

Carbon Credit market picks up in India

During the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow in 2021, India announced its five-fold strategy for fighting climate change. Commitments made included a reduction of one billion tonnes of carbon by 2030, reducing the carbon intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

As India is the world’s largest exporter of carbon credits, the government is reportedly pushing for a uniform carbon trading market through policy changes and legislation aimed at implementing a carbon trading scheme that will subsume the present tradable certificates. The goal is to encourage a robust domestic market for clean certificates. India is also well placed to pioneer agriculture-related carbon credit trading. An Indian startup nurture.farm has already sold 20,000 carbon units from agricultural waste. Other companies, such as CropIn, are using artificial intelligence to digitise and inform decision-making on the farm. The carbon credit trade could help generate funds for green energy projects. To meet India’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2070, and initiatives like eliminating stubble burning, equipping farmers with digital tools and other regenerative agricultural practices are paramount.

Success stories like EKI Energy Services– the Indore-based private company, in the business of carbon trading achieving a $1 billion valuation earlier this year are also grabbing the headlines. After being an active player in the arena for over a decade the company that boasts of major clients like The World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Airports Authority of India, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, NTPC, Indian Railways, Indian Oil Corporation and ReNew Power came into its own in the last couple of years.

Other similar companies offering solutions for carbon management, from registration of projects to its verification and global accreditations are getting inspired and a host of related services are starting to evolve.

 

Concerns about Carbon Trading

While proponents hail the virtues of carbon trading as the bridge to a Net Zero future, critics dismiss it as “the right to pollute”. They say carbon trading worsens climate change as it is “used as a substitute for real climate action”.

Criminals have also successfully exploited loopholes in the carbon trading system to pull of massive scams, such as the 2008-09 case in Paris, when 36 people went on trial for swindling 1.6 billion Euros in a carbon quota market scam dubbed the “fraud of the century”. Soon after a similar story about VAT fraud related to carbon trading worth 5 billion Euros broke in the European Union, followed by another multi-billion Euro VAT fraud in Poland in 2016.

‘Greenwashing’, is a real concern too, as organisations quite often tend to respond to consumer demand for environmentally-friendly goods, services and policies by simply resorting to a form of marketing spin that deceptively puts a ‘green sheen’ on them as being sustainably sourced and produced.

Concerns are also expressed that wealthier nations would buy their way out of unsustainable practices placing a disproportionate burden on developing nations through the carbon offsets route. The fact is, the world’s top three emitters- China, the United States and the European Union, contribute 16 times the GHGs of the Bottom 100. The world cannot successfully fight climate change without significant action from the top 10 emitters.

 

Fixing the Risks

Undeniably, the world’s most vulnerable countries and population groups are disproportionately impacted by climate change. For any initiative aimed at saving the planet from its greatest threats to work, a robust policy framework, government oversight, checks and balances are essential. According to a study published by Trove Research and University College London, carbon credit prices are expected to rise exponentially as demand for carbon credits is expected to increase five-fold or even ten-fold over the next decade with companies seeking to deliver on their net-zero emissions pledges. Plugging the risks of fraud and manipulation are crucial to realising the full potential of putting a price on carbon to deliver a cleaner planet.

 

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TRIZ methodology

No matter how many analysis tools and data you have, your project might hit roadblocks. You might not be able to find a way forward. This is when it is imperative that you have to come up with creative solutions. One of the most popular ways to come out of a creative rut is to sit with stakeholders and brainstorm for solutions. The results from a brainstorming solution might not always be dependable as it depends on the knowledge of the stakeholders and a lot of what is usually referred to as “gut feeling.”

This is where TRIZ becomes a handy solution. 

 

What is the Triz methodology?

TRIZ, is a problem-solving methodology that depends on data, research, and logic. Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) takes previous data and the knowledge of many engineers to come up with creative solutions. TRIZ adds predictability, reliability, and repeatability to the problem-solving approach.

Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues developed TRIZ. It was not practiced outside the Soviet Union for several years. The first paper on TRIZ was published in 1956, and he expanded his work on it till the 1980s.  

It depends on the universal creativity principles for innovation. TRIZ codifies these principles to make the creative process more dependable and predictable. 

Samsung saved over $100 million by implementing TRIZ in some of its projects. It has become the bedrock of innovation at Samsung, and was introduced by Russian engineers they had hired in the early 2000s. Many of the world’s innovative companies such as Samsung, General Electric, LG, Intel, Procter & Gamble, Motorola, HP, Rolls-Royce, etc., have used TRIZ in design engineering, process management, and the development of products. 

 

Philosophy of TRIZ:

Modern TRIZ has reduced innovation to 39 ‘features’, 40 ‘inventive principles’, eight ‘trends’, and nine ‘boxes.’ The above method makes it possible to come up with solutions to any technical problem that can be investigated in a systematic manner. When they are applied to patents, they become even more watertight and make it difficult for competitors to find a workaround. 

 

  • To estimate creative problem resolution and product development
  • To create principles that are common for all fields of technology. 
  • To eliminate contradictions.
  • To use materials, energy, and knowledge effectively. 

 

TRIZ concepts:

There are two main concepts associated with TRIZ: Generalizing problems and solutions and Contradictions. 

 

Generalizing problems and solutions:

Based on research, TRIZ says that problems and solutions repeat themselves across industries. The problems are contradictions that can be resolved through creative solutions. TRIZ can be used to understand patterns of contradictions and solutions for developing new methods. 

 

Problem identification: Contradictions:

TRIZ identifies contradictions as one of the main issues relating to a problem. Eliminating them leads to solutions. There are two contradictions that exist in TRIZ. 

 

Technical contradictions:

They occur when you improve something and it leads to something else suffering from a negative effect. 

Example: A business improves the service and delivery to its customers and it results in more orders. Because of this, they are unable to handle the influx of new customers. 

This is a technical contradiction and it can be solved by using automated tools to offer customized services without having to employ more people. Automation can solve this problem with ease. The main technical contradictions are featured in the TRIZ Contradiction Matrix.

 

Physical contradictions:

They are usually inherent. A system or an object might have requirements that are contrary in nature, resulting in physical contradictions. 

Example: A full-suite program has a lot of features and functionality that it offers. But it is not easy for the end-users as they are overwhelmed with so many details. 

For an issue like this, the end-users can be offered documentation that helps them to navigate the program better. They can have demos, bite-sized videos, better workflows, or even a change in the UI/UX. Physical contradictions can be solved with the TRIZ Separation Principles

 

The 40 inventive principles of TRIZ: 

TRIZ’s database has a collection of user-compiled resources. This database has more than 40 principles and forms the basis for problem resolution. The principles include the following:

Segmentation, extraction, local quality, asymmetry, combination, universality, nesting, counterweight, prior counteraction, prior action, cushion in advance, equipotentiality, inversion, spheroidality, dynamicity, partial, overdone or excessive action, moving to a new dimension, mechanical vibration, periodic action, continuity of useful action, rushing through, convert harm into benefit, feedback, mediator, self-service, copying, inexpensive short life, replacement of a mechanical system, use pneumatic or hydraulic systems, flexible film or thin membranes, use of porous materials, changing the colour, homogeneity, rejecting and regenerating parts, transforming physical or chemical states, phase transition, thermal expansion, use strong oxidisers, inert environment and composite materials.

 

Let’s dive into the first three principles.

  • Segmentation- It divides the object into independent parts. It makes an object sectional for easy assembly or disassembly. It increases the degree of an object’s segmentation.
  • Extraction- It extracts the ‘disturbing’ part or property from an object. Only the necessary part of the property from an object is extracted. 
  • Local quality- Transition from homogenous to heterogeneous structure of an object or outside environment. 

 

76 standard solutions of TRIZ:

There are 76 standard solutions that were compiled by Genrich Altshuller between 1975 and 1985. The standard solutions are divided into five broad categories. 

  • 13 standard solutions are for “improving the system” with little or no change.
  • 23 standard solutions are for “improving the system” by changing the system.
  • 6 standard solutions are for “system transitions.”
  • 17 standard solutions are for “detection and measurement.”
  • 17 standard solutions are for “simplification and improvement.”

 

How to use TRIZ principles in solving business problems?

 

If you want to solve problems using the TRIZ methodology, here are the steps that you need to take:

 

  1.  Define your problem:

The first step to implementing TRIZ is to define the problem. Find out if the issue is a physical or technical contradiction. 

     2. Find the TRIZ generalized problem to match yours:

Match the generalized problem to match your issue. Since problems keep repeating themselves across various industries, it is possible to do this. 

    3. Find the generalized solution to solve the generalized problem:

The next step is to match the generalized problem to a generalized solution to see how it was resolved by the former. 

    4. Use the identified solution to resolve your problem:

Use the generalized problem and the particular generalized solution for it and adapt it in your issue to see if it is getting resolved. 

 

Examples of business problems solved using TRIZ:

  • The engineers of the Luna 16 lunar landers struggled for months to develop a lamp to illuminate the scene for a camera. After applying TRIZ, they realized that the vacuum environment did not require a lamp bulb there at all. 
  • Rolls-Royce patented brush seats in jet engines. GE applied TRIZ concepts and came up with a set of patents that rendered the original patent useless. The two companies came to a truce and agreed to mutual use. 
  • Taiwan saw an influx of Chinese tourists since 2008 which changed the tourist landscape of the place. They used TRIZ techniques to learn about the trajectory of their tourist industry. The results from the study were used by policymakers and businesses that were involved in catering to tourists. 

 

Benefits of TRIZ methodology: 

TRIZ encourages organizational problem solving and creative thinking that is useful for analyzing systems and operations, or even identifying and defining problems. It is applicable to every industry and in any environment for acceleration and innovation. That’s why companies such as Chrysler, ABB, Bosch, General Motors, Ford, Kraft, Motorola, Samsung, Eli Lilly, etc., use TRIZ. 

 

  1.  It is structured and systematic:

The most popular problem-solving methodology, aka brainstorming, is great at revealing everyone’s solutions, both good and bad. Everyone is trying to think outside the box. But the pertinent point with brainstorming is “what next?.” TRIZ is more than just problem-solving. It puts the solutions in a clear and structured manner. 

 

     2. It has a helpful community:

TRIZ has a global community called TRIZ Effects Database. It gives you answers to queries in the form of a list of Effects, that is, physical phenomena or applications of physical phenomena. Here are some of the free TRIZ resources that are available- Learning Centre and TRIZ Blog

 

     3. TRIZ works with other tools:

Organizations that use other problem-solving toolkits such as Lean, Agile, or Root Cause Analysis, can easily use TRIZ as a complementary toolkit. They can simply start using TRIZ’s tools and processes when other toolkits do not produce the expected results. 

 

     4. Increases innovation:

TRIZ is a rational, structured, and historically proven idea generation machine. In association with strategic thinking tools, it generates a set of data that changes the way organizations think and work. It helps companies generate solutions of high quality but in less time. TRIZ is also used extensively to improve the scope and strength of the intellectual property. 

 

Challenges in implementing TRIZ: 

The TRIZ methodology is great for finding quick and practical solutions, even if the problems are complex. One big disadvantage of TRIZ is its lack of formalization. It can lead to complexity at times. It is also reported that TRIZ doesn’t take into account the underlying organizational and cultural issues. 

Despite the above challenges, the benefits of TRIZ, far outweigh the negatives. Businesses that want to be competitive should incorporate TRIZ into their innovation strategy and processes. 

 

Researchwire helped a technology giant in improving the design of their wall mounted boilers. The goal was to decrease the exhaust gas temperature by blocking the thermal radiation and guiding the exhaust gas flow over the finned tube of the heat exchanger. Additional goal was to decrease the exhaust gas temperature by blocking the thermal radiation and guiding the exhaust gas flow over the finned tube of the heat exchanger.

Therefore, to move more exhaust gas over the heat exchanger and to maximize energy usage, several principles were investigated such as
• Duration of Action by Moving object (i.e. Exhaust Gas)
• Use of Energy by Stationary Object (i.e. Heat Exchanger)
• Loss of Energy (i.e. Effect of exhaust gas on heat exchanger)

Using the TRIZ principles, finally a new product was developed to solve the earlier issues in the product.

 

Wrapping up:

The innovative tools that TRIZ offers can help solve problems with the help of its problem-translation processes. It enables real problems to be translated into TRIZ general problems, and all you have to do is follow the steps outlined in it to find the solutions. What are your thoughts about implementing TRIZ techniques for your organization? 

Researchwire has the necessary technical know-how and wherewithal to implement TRIZ. We have successfully implemented TRIZ for several companies and helped them solve their bottlenecks, achieve new product development, and circumvent FTO issues. 

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Trends in OTT technology — How AI and ML are transforming content production and delivery

When Disney launched its streaming service in 2020, it attracted 10 million subscribers in the first 24 hours from just the US, Netherlands, and Canada. We are in the midst of a streaming revolution. Media analysts predict that there will be nearly two billion active subscriptions to on-demand video streaming services in 2025, indicating a 65% increase over the end of 2020. 

Cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) allow OTT players to generate insights from the tonnes of user data that is available to them. From helping them recommend the right content to each user to enabling them to produce original content in line with the expectations of different demographics, AI and ML are all set to revolutionize how we consume entertainment. 

The OTT market is expected to reach $194.20 by 2025. The primary engine for this growth will be traditional broadcasters who aim to compete with online video streaming giants such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc.  

 

Let’s see how AI/ML are transforming content production and delivery:

       1. Content Production:

The 20th Century Fox collaborated with IBM to make the world’s first “cognitive movie trailer” for Morgan, a horror movie. It entailed training an AI that uses fantastic scenes from other horror movies and trailers to create a trailer that will pique the interest of horror aficionados. 

From IBM: “There are patterns and types of emotions in horror movies that resonate differently with each viewer, and the intricacies and interrelation of these are what an AI system would have to identify and understand in order to create a compelling movie trailer. Our team was faced with the challenge of not only teaching a system to understand, “what is scary”, but then to create a trailer that would be considered “frightening and suspenseful” by a majority of viewers.”

The AI (coupled with the help of human editors) managed to do this in 24 hours. Creating a movie trailer without the assistance of AI takes anywhere from ten to thirty days. AI keeps getting better with time as it learns and adapts. AI can create new videos from content repositories, in real-time. They can even perfectly optimize it for release on different OTT platforms. 

 

       2. Provides a hyper-personal approach:

One of the biggest advantages of AI/ML technology in the industry is its capacity to push content specific to the interests of the consumer. If you display content to people based on their interests, they are more likely to watch it. It will drive content consumption. AI can be leveraged to determine the preferences of customers. The content they enjoy, the ones they skip, the genres that they spend more time on, movie durations that they prefer, etc. When OTT platforms use this information to drive content recommendations, it will result in hyper-personalized content and increases their happiness. 

 

       3. Acts as a retention tool:

There are hundreds of OTT platforms. Gaining the attention of consumers and keeping it that way takes a lot of effort. OTT subscriber churn rate in the US is as high as 44%. You need to be constantly pushing the right buttons to keep them interested in what you offer. If only platforms could seamlessly understand the requirements of a customer and recommend content based on each individual’s unique interests, isn’t it? Thankfully, AI has the capability to do just that. 

What do you think an AI system is powered by? Data. The AI system learns from previous customer data and trains itself to understand patterns and predict customer behavior. It suggests content that is relevant to the users and their specific requirements. 

You cannot send recommendations based on a single attribute alone. A 30-something female OTT customer from South Korea with a master’s degree who lives in Paris, France, might have a completely different movie taste from someone who shares the same attributes. 

AI studies the specific customer’s behavioral and real-time data to create highly personalized recommendations. The insights that an AI engine provides help OTT platforms offer a terrific experience. 

 

       4. High-quality viewing across multiple media formats:

Interactive video-based digital content has a lot of takers because of the immersive experience that it offers. OTT platforms have already managed to offer seamless digital entertainment across multiple media formats. Some of the bigger OTT players leverage the seamless interconnectivity that allows them to watch content on screens that offer 4k and 8k resolution. With a boom in the sales of smart TVs, features such as ultra-high resolution, better picture quality, and an immersive experience will become a must-have. 

Technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality will create more opportunities for providing an immersive and experiential experience. 

 

       5. Content protection by blockchain:

Blockchain can help content creators and distributors in storing, classifying, copyrighting, and distributing digital content. The immutable public ledger will allow OTT platforms to create effective policies to restrict content from unauthorized users. It will reduce instances of piracy and protect against copyright infringements. 

 

       6. Short-form videos:

Bite-sized video content improves engagement by a huge factor. AI/ML engines can create highlights, teasers, recaps, key moments, and trailers to show the viewers what they can expect when they decide to watch a movie or show. This saves a lot of time for the consumers as they don’t have to sit through the content to understand if it will be of interest to them. 

 

       7. Video playback:

Data and speed requirements have significantly increased recently, especially with 4K video resolution coming into play. If the bandwidth is restricted, it can result in throttling, which creates a video buffering problem. AI technology can adjust the video quality based on the available network quality, without affecting the experience of the user. 

It can even gauge the user’s favorite video quality and use that resolution whenever they are watching a video. By adapting content and services based on the data range available, AI and ML can provide richer and more engaging experiences for their audience. 

 

      8. Blending OTT platforms:

AI is disrupting the OTT ecosystem by blending the platforms. We will see platforms merging applications and functionalities. For example, YouTube is not just a video-watching platform, it can also be used as a messaging board, social network, video editor, and so on. In the immediate future, OTT platforms can also be used to engage fans. You will see video platforms that come with eCommerce integrations that allow you to make direct purchases. Live commerce combines entertainment with the ability to purchase items. It provides businesses, marketers, and OTT platforms an opportunity to generate revenue. 

Combining the user base of social media platforms, content development, and streaming capabilities of OTT platforms can completely change the game. 

 

How does Netflix use Machine Learning to its advantage?

Netflix is one of the most popular OTT platforms in the world. Let’s see how they use machine learning to provide their end-to-end video streaming solutions. ML helps Netflix design advanced prototypes, evaluate algorithms, improvise models, and experiment incessantly to come up with new ways to provide better service. 

  1. Netflix thumbnails:

The video streaming platform creates attractive graphics that are automatically generated by the ML process. It is created based on viewer choices. Based on the vast data of the shows or videos that you have watched on the platform, the ML system unifies the images. 

      2. Their homepage: 

One of the brilliant use cases of ML on OTT platforms is Netflix’s homepage. As soon as you enter, you will find it filled with shows or movies that you are watching currently and recommendations that match closest to your viewing patterns. 

      3. Its recommendation system:

Users get personalized suggestions on the platform, through the ML engine. Reports say that its recommendation system saves them more than $1 billion a year.  

      4. Content delivery: 

Netflix does pioneering work in content delivery. It has patents for technology that improves how content is delivered to viewers, decreasing data loss while improving stream quality, and reducing buffering. 

      5. Choosing the location:

More than being just a streaming platform, Netflix is a production company. They produced 2,769 hours of original content in 2019, 80% more than that of 2018. The location at which the movies or shows are shot is important because it directly affects the bottom line too. Netflix uses machine learning algorithms to determine the perfect shooting location for a particular show or movie. 

The machine learning algorithms check the cost, schedule of the cast and crew, location shooting requirements, probability of getting shooting permits, weather, and other relevant factors. Their ML systems quickly finds shooting locations that are the most optimal and feasible. 

 

Wrapping up:

Consumption of entertainment through traditional media has reduced drastically, and there has been a huge shift to consuming content on OTT platforms. They provide an eclectic set of shows and movies and the accessibility to watch them from anywhere. It has also made entertainment consumption an immersive and engaging experience. 

OTT platforms are fighting for improving their technological capabilities as much as for content. If one platform offers a better experience than the other, consumers wouldn’t hesitate to switch. The future holds exciting prospects for AI and ML in the OTT landscape. 

If you are in the OTT space and are looking to take care of your inventions, Researchwire will be able to help you in the right direction. Get in touch with us and see the kind of difference we can make for your intellectual property. 

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Why should you integrate AI into your competitive intelligence program?

The speed at which disruption is happening in every industry can get overwhelming if you aren’t actively contributing to this change. According to research by Accenture, only 63% of companies are experiencing any sort of disruption in how they operate, engage, or bring value to their customers. Only 3% of publicly listed companies have made serious progress in transforming their organizations. There is a huge gap.

This gap can be bridged by having a competitive intelligence program in place. 

 

What is competitive analysis?

The practice of gathering and analyzing competitive information to identify market opportunities, threats, and risks is called competitive analysis. Every business has to indulge in it as it helps you compete with the best in the industry. You will also be able to make data-driven decisions that will put your brand in a better position in the market. 

While competitive intelligence programs have been common for quite some time, the entry of artificial intelligence (AI) in it has completely changed the way how it is done. 

From improving customer service or operations with RPA (Robotic process automation) bots to predicting performance, AI is shaping the way how businesses operate. To say that it is changing the world would not be an overwhelming statement. In gathering competitor intelligence, too, AI has carved a niche for itself.

In this article, we are going to look at the benefits of integrating AI into your business’ competitor intelligence program. 

 

Why is competitive analysis critical? 

Competitive intelligence helps leaders make data-backed business decisions. It could entail anything from monitoring competitors’ products, marketing techniques, supply chain, market, operations strategy, patent strategy, etc. By doing so consistently, you will gain a competitive advantage and be in a position to stay ahead of your competitors. 

When you are actively indulging in AI-powered competitive intelligence programs, you will rarely get surprised by the market or your competitors. Bloomberg says-” Competitive intelligence is your best alarm clock,” as it makes you take action when presented with a threat or opportunity. 

 

Why is AI important to your competitive intelligence program? 

 

  • Helps gather relevant sources:

Gathering information about your competitors is an arduous task. Doing it manually can take off hundreds of thousands of person-hours that can be used elsewhere. Artificial Intelligence helps collate information from thousands of sources. It even identifies real-time updates and changes that the competitor is doing on several channels, including social media, external tracking, website tracking, forums, etc. 

 

 

  • Anticipate competitor’s actions:

With the help of AI-powered competitive intelligence, it may even be possible to predict competitors’ next steps, assuming that there are tonnes of data to analyze. Even otherwise, when you know what your competitors are about to do, you will be in a great position to counter any attack that may come from their side. 

You need to react quickly to how the market behaves if you want to stay ahead of the competition. It is imperative that you find out as much as possible about all your main competitors so that you are never blindsided. 

 

 

  • Visualizes trends for decision making:

The ability to visualize trends based on the data collected is an essential part of decision-making. AI pulls out trends and visualizes data from multiple sources to help businesses see what is happening, at a never before seen scale and speed. Thanks to advanced levels of visualization that include the ability to filter, you can make the data actionable and see how it impacts your business. 

 

 

  • Understand the market:

Competitive intelligence programs help spark great new ideas and allow for different perspectives to form. It will help your business see how your competitors are positioning themselves in the market, and find out if there are any market gaps that they have not taken advantage of. 61% of leaders believe that artificial intelligence helps significantly in fleshing out opportunities for their business. 

Artificial intelligence can act as a surveillant for multiple sources (even thousands) so that you don’t miss out on any updates about your industry or how your brand is perceived by those who are your prospective clients. From monitoring website content to thought leadership trends, it can keep a tab on everything. It even manages to save thousands of person-hours by doing all of this in an automated manner. All information that is relevant to your business will be kept track of. 

 

 

  • Discover marketing gaps:

You might have the best product in the market, but if your marketing game is not strong, your customers won’t know about it. Most businesses cannot attract the right kind of clientele because they have not been able to put themselves out in the right way. 

 

 

  • Reduction of repetition:

Repetitive tasks can be mind-numbingly tedious for human beings, even resulting in mistakes that can cost the company. On the other hand, machine learning gathers intelligence by drawing inferences from patterns of activity. 

 

 

  • Does better research:

One of the most challenging tasks associated with competitor intelligence is research. 

  • What is the data that you want to analyze? 
  • Which are the different pieces of information that you want to collect? 
  • What are the sources from where data will be collected? 

 

Artificial intelligence makes all of this incredibly easy. You can analyze every single detail of your competitors at scale and in a significantly less period. The AI system will also make sure that the data collected is organized in a visually appealing manner that makes it easy to find patterns from it. 

The AI crawlers that scrape the data can be as extensive as possible, and it is not even limited by geography. You can be assured of the fact that you are not missing out on any business use case. 

 

Disadvantages of using AI for competitive intelligence programs:

Let us look at some of the cons of using AI for CI and how it can take the charm out of it if you don’t take the right steps. 

 

  • Lack of context:

AI might be able to find unexpected patterns, but it cannot tell you clearly why it occurred in the first place. You might feed a select set of data, but how the AI works and what it finds ‘related’ is not transparent. The business should put more effort in finding the context for certain insights. 

 

 

  • False positives:

How does your AI algorithm find relevant data points? The algorithm might not have included important aspects that are important for your business or there might be coding oversights, and this will give false-positive results. You have to be on top of the data to ensure that the algorithm is doing what exactly it intends to do. 

 

 

  • Obsolete AI:

There is so much innovation in artificial intelligence that the results you are getting currently might be terribly limited. Be on the lookout for the latest innovations to get what you want. 

 

Popular AI use cases in competitive intelligence:

From identifying patterns in data to predicting future outcomes, artificial intelligence can make a world of difference in your competitive intelligence plan. It can even be programmed to gather information from disparate sources to analyze the data together. 

AI has the ability to quickly identify opportunities in your industry. It is already being implemented across industries to predict the future by discovering trends or data patterns that might be missed by humans. News tracking, AI-enabled content recommendation, opportunity tracking, social media monitoring, auto-tagging, customer preference analysis, comparison with competitors across different categories, detailed data breakdown etc., are some of the use cases of AI in competitive intelligence programs. 

 

Wrapping up:

Given the tonnes of competitor data that is available publicly, it would be unwise not to spend effort on collecting insights from them. Businesses will be doing themselves a disservice if they don’t invest in competitive intelligence programs to see what they can do to their existing IP strategy. Adding artificial intelligence into the fray increases the effectiveness of your competitor analysis. 

If you are looking for end-to-end intellectual property services and AI-powered competitor analysis, get in touch with the Researchwire team. Let us walk you through how exactly we can help you with gaining relevant insights for your business using competitive intelligence programs. 

 

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Automobile industry investing in 5G R&D can drive business growth : Know how

Studies by Qualcomm said that by 2035, 5G will generate more than $2.4 trillion across the automotive industry. It is also slated to create more than 22 million jobs. When 5G is rolled out, it will be able to transfer hundreds of megabytes per second, as opposed to the low tens of megabytes that 4G offers. One of the basic requirements of 5G is that it should be able to handle at least 20 billion bits of downloaded data per second. Let us look at 5G in a bit more detail. 

 

What is 5G?

The 5th generation of cellular technology is set to change our lives in ways that we would have never imagined. Its ever-reliable connectivity allows millions of devices to use and transfer data everywhere. 5G is meant to deliver ultra-low latency, massive network capacity, increased availability, uniform user experience, and peak data speeds. It will result in higher performance, empower users and change the way how many industries operate. In this article, we will look at 5G’s impact on the automobile industry. 

 

5G in the automobile industry:

Every day, millions of vehicles leverage mobile technology for real-time innovation, connected infotainment, emergency services, etc. With the advent of 5G, a new range of applications will spawn Vehicle-2-Vehicle, Vehicle-2-Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle-2-Network (V2N), and Vehicle-2-Pedestrian (V2P) communications. 

 

According to Gartner, the share of 5G-enabled cars actively connected to a 5G service will reach 94% in 2028. 5G will bring a windfall of sales in the automotive sector, but its impact is beyond just that. 

 

Partnerships for 5G autonomous vehicles:

 

Benefits of 5G in the automobile industry:

Let us look at the different ways in which 5G will impact the automobile industry. 

  • Makes manufacturing cars easier:

Thanks to 5G’s secure and real-time connectivity, the manufacturing of automobiles also gets a fillip. Ericsson recently tied up with Telefonica Germany for 5G car production through a private 5G network for Mercedes Benz. Jörg Burzer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, said: “With the installation of a local 5G network, the networking of all production systems and machines in the Mercedes-Benz Cars factories will become even smarter and more efficient in the future. This opens up completely new production opportunities.”

 

5G will be able to usher in an era where efficiency and profitability will be achieved by automobile companies by creating new innovations in the processes. It could be due to the continued automation of robots, warehouse transportation, or cutting cables for more flexibility. The 5G mobile technology will lower costs, greater flexibility, shorter lead times, etc. 

 

  • 5G will result in safer cars:

The mobile technology’s greater throughput, availability, and reliability will enable safety-sensitive applications known as V2X, or Vehicle-to-Everything. V2X, with the help of 5G, will play a huge role in bettering traffic efficiency and reducing car-related accidents. How? Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication gives vehicles the ability to look beyond just what is in their line of sight. 

According to Morgan Stanley, V2V communication could save more than $500 billion from accident avoidance. This will make commuting every day safer and make travel a less time-consuming affair. It is estimated that more than $2.7 billion worth of hours will stop being wasted.  Autonomous vehicles will know where the parking spots are, determine alternative parking areas, and reduces congestion, thereby saving another $140 billion by avoiding congestion. 

 

  • Smarter cars:

The key to developing autonomous vehicles is artificial intelligence, but its biggest enablers are communication and connectivity. Machine-to-machine requires an incredible amount of bandwidth. Thankfully, 5G supports it. 5G’s high bit rate will enable high volumes of 3D data exchange. The speed and reliability of 5G data allow for sharing of sensory data, and it is of huge significance in improving situational awareness, thereby expediting the process toward autonomous automobiles. 

 

  • Advanced auto manufacturing:

The impact of 5G in the automobile industry starts in the assembly line itself. 5G will allow remote factories to have better communication and connectivity. It will make the production of cars faster, cheaper, and more efficient. In the future, you will see wireless and connected assembly lines that build parts and the complete construction of the car’s body using cables and wires. 

 

  • Better freight and shipping:

With 5G, the logistics industry will see a complete makeover too. It is expected that autonomous trucks will become a reality by 2027. Road assistance will be possible through virtual reality. Companies will manage their fleet using a remote mechanic. It will reduce the time taken to care for trucks, thus getting them back on the roads faster, and improving delivery times. There are times when it becomes impossible to find broken-down trucks. With 5G’s advanced geo-location technology, vehicles will be easier to track. Such route optimization improves delivery speeds and reduces the time taken to travel. 

 

  • Will be of huge significance for electric vehicles (EV):

With many legacy brands jumping onto the electric vehicle bandwagon, whether it is launching pure or hybrid EVs, 5G is set to play a major role. Better connectivity leads to greater control, analysis, and performance. 5G will facilitate the infrastructure to assist EV deployment, such as monitoring battery levels, identifying better routes, and finding charging stations quickly. 

 

  • Will rejig the automobile industry:

While we are still not sure about the extent of change that 5G will spawn in the automobile industry, there is no doubt that automobile manufacturers will have a lot to think about. For example, the advent of autonomous cars means that car manufacturers and OEMs should concentrate on the rider’s experience while in the vehicle. You might see a wave of in-vehicle apps and other forms of entertainment, and the 5G network will act as an enabler here. Manufacturers will have to find ways to redefine the purchasing experience. You will see newer products and business models. 

 

  • Advanced self-driving:

5G helps leverage the full potential of advanced CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electrified). Autonomous cars use hundreds of sensors to make vehicles faster and smarter. 

 

Conclusion:

The automobile industry is going through a massive transformation. In a few years, cars will be more connected, autonomous, shared, and electric (CASE). Automotive manufacturing would go well beyond just manufacturing cars, and will have to focus more on technology-side features too. They should partner with technology companies to optimize and better the existing facilities in automobiles.

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How 5G is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

From facilitating the remote diagnosis of the Covid virus to autonomous driving robots inside the operating room, the advent of 5G networks in healthcare will be one of the best things to happen for the healthcare industry. With its massive connection power and high speed, it has a lot to offer and revolutionize healthcare. 

 

Investments in healthcare technology have increased because of Covid-19. There was a 19% increase in healthcare investments in 2020 when compared with 2019, to the tune of $9.1 billion. According to Gartner, the 5G network infrastructure has risen worldwide by 39% in 2021. 

 

What is 5G?

It is the fifth generation of wireless network technology and is an advanced version of the 4th generation. 1G focused on improving voice quality, 2G did the same, but it also offered consumers the ability to send and receive text messages. 3G was released during the time internet was brought to our phones, 4G was all about data sharing and faster wireless internet connectivity. With 5G networks, we are promised incredibly fast connectivity, extremely low latency, and widespread coverage

 

What is the relevance of 5G in healthcare?

The cost of healthcare is seeing a steep increase, and the Covid-19 pandemic has only added to its woes. Inefficient processes, government policies, aging population, disease incidence, and medical service utilization contribute to the increase in healthcare costs.

 

Some of the biggest technologies in the world such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), IoT, big data, etc, contribute to the development of the healthcare experience for patients. They also help reduce costs for the hospitals. 

 

For example, AI/ML helps in the diagnosis of certain diseases based on the symptoms. Faster communication and a seamless network make telemedicine a reality. But there are problems such as slow network speeds and low latency that don’t help the cause at times. This is where 5G networks can completely change the game for healthcare providers. 

 

While many use cases were explored in healthcare, some of them didn’t meet expectations because of the limitations in the incumbent communication networks. Thanks to features such as low latency, high speed, and fast data transfer rate, 5G will be able to resolve some of the biggest challenges. 

 

What is the need for 5G in healthcare? 

 

  • Better security and reliability:

5G gives secure and more reliable service due to better use of bandwidth and more connection points. Because of this, 5G is able to provide ubiquitous coverage too. For healthcare applications, reliable and timely data transmission is pivotal, especially in areas such as augmented-reality powered robotic surgeries, connected ambulances, remote patient monitoring, and so on. Thanks to 5G’s better privacy protection, advanced encryption protocols, software-defined setup, and authentication framework, the networks are more secure. 

 

  • Helps expand telemedicine:

Market Research Future says that the telemedicine market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.5% from 2017 to 2023. The study says that the increased demand is because of government initiatives. For telemedicine to work successfully, it requires a network that offers high-quality video in real-time. Telemedicine is bolstered by the fact that it can enable mobile networks to work seamlessly. Patients who do not often get access to specialists will be able to get proper healthcare because of 5G networks. 

 

  • Connected ambulances:

Connected ambulances help emergency services collect important and real-time information about the patient through sensors, wearables, and streaming HD cameras, while the patient is being taken to a healthcare center. Thanks to this, the healthcare staff have a much better understanding of what the patient requires even before they arrive at the hospital. In serious situations, specialist doctors can even guide the paramedics through certain procedures without having to travel to hospitals. 

 

Connected ambulances cannot be implemented without 5G’s capabilities. Real-time data transfer is pivotal in emergency situations as even minor decisions can have a lot of bearing on patient outcomes. The high bandwidth that 5G offers enables the video to be live-streamed without seeing a dip in quality. Apart from these two, the 5G network’s increased reliability and security make it a must-have for the healthcare industry.

 

  • Video-enabled medication adherence:

Making sure that patients take their prescriptions is a big challenge in the healthcare industry. Patients with chronic diseases will not be able to function properly if they do not take their medicines on time. 5G tackles this problem by connecting pharmacists and care providers directly to the patient to ensure that the medicines are taken on time. 

 

  • Clinical collaboration:

Lengthy wait times to get the correct diagnosis can result in a poor experience for the patient, it can even end up harming them adversely. Most of the time, the doctors will be waiting for the results of tests that are being diagnosed in the same healthcare center. Collaboration and communication become a problem and it slows down the progress of the treatment. 

A healthcare center that has a 5G platform can easily solve this problem as lab technicians will be able to transfer large files without compromising the quality. The 5G platform connects all the devices within the hospital, starting from medical equipment to devices handled by the caregivers, solving the problem of data accessibility.  

 

  • Medical Sensors:

Wearable devices have seen huge strides in adoption as well as an increase in their use cases. A wearable fitness device can monitor your heart rate, skin temperature, ECG, SpO2, sleep cycle, and even your stress levels. With more such technologies facilitating remote patient care and monitoring, the treatment and experience of the patient improve by a huge margin. 

 

Hospitals can even use smartphone cameras to detect melanoma, monitor skin infections, analyze patient injuries, eye problems, etc. The wireless medical sensors can even be used in administering and monitoring medication. 

 

  • Real-time remote monitoring:

With the help of IoT devices, healthcare providers can monitor the data of patients to provide timely and personalized care. It also increases patients’ engagement with their own health. One of the biggest obstacles to the success of remote monitoring is the capacity of networks to handle the data. When the connection is unreliable, the healthcare service providers will not be able to make quick decisions. 

5G enables real-time remote monitoring because of the following reasons: 

  • Increased capacity to handle a number of connected devices per square kilometer
  • Provides greater reliability and security for the connected devices
  • Offers greater mobility 

 

  • AR/VR for the blind:

Those who have poor or zero vision will find it difficult to do day-to-day tasks that are easy for others. With the help of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

headset, or a pair of video streaming glasses, visually challenged people can be connected to a real-time person who will guide them in doing their daily activities. 

 

5G helps AR/VR systems to help the visually challenged at scale because:

  • 5G’s low latency allows the video to be streamlined in real-time, and it is crucial as a light delay might result in mishaps
  • The higher bandwidth that 5G offers allows for higher video quality 
  • Many of the AR/VR activities will happen seamlessly because of the mobility that 5G offers

 

  • Distraction and Rehabilitative Therapy:

AR and VR can also be used extensively in hospitals to offer a better experience for the patients, especially in distraction and rehabilitative therapy. To give an example of how AR/VR can be used in distraction therapy, we can take the example of a patient who has a phobia of needles. The patient can wear the AR/VR headset, they can choose cloud-streamed videos, and they will be transported to a completely different environment. 

 

  •  Better patient-doctor relationship:

To give and receive proper care, the relationship between patients and doctors should be great. Thanks to 5G, the communication between both parties happens seamlessly.  Artificial intelligence and interconnected sensors can analyze the interactions between patients and the staff. With 5G, there will be better outcomes and much more personalized care. Integration of 5G can also increase the access of doctors. With the help of fast data speeds, patients can interact with doctors from afar. Patients wouldn’t have to walk into a hospital for every minor ailment. By using video chats, they can assess which ones require in-hospital visits. 

 

  • Healthcare automation:

Hospitals can leverage the applications, data, and infrastructure that 5G networks will open up to stay a step ahead of their competitors. They can greatly increase their speed, ability to handle complexity, and scale of business operations. Automation plays a huge role in maximizing healthcare value. With the help of 5G, hospitals can automate pivotal business processes and workflows. Potential delays or failures can be detected with the help of predictive analysis before they happen, thereby making them ready for immediate remediation. 

 

  • Telesurgery: 

Telesurgery requires medical information like audio, videos, and images, to be digitized and transmitted wirelessly via telecommunication networks. Telesurgeries are rare because of concerns over internet reliability and infrastructure. The data connection has to be fast if surgeries have to be remotely monitored. There’s good reason to believe that 5G will make telesurgery a possibility. 

 

Conclusion:

The potential of 5G in healthcare is immense, there are many more applications of this technology. It can improve the quality of the care, reduce the care cost, offer a better patient experience, and more. As the use of 5G in healthcare increases, we will see a connected healthcare ecosystem taking shape that will change the way we receive care. Ultimately, this paves way for better healthcare for everyone. 

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Senior Leadership at Researchwire Recognized on IAM Strategy 300, 2021

Co-Founder, Praveen Singh named on the list of The World’s Leading IP Strategists.

 

The IAM Strategy 300 identifies the leading corporate professionals who are from global patent community and were nominated for individuals  inclusion. Only those individuals identified by market sources for their exceptional skill sets and profound insights into patent matters are featured.

Researchwire‘s Co-Founder Praveen Singh, was  recognized and ranked in IAM300 for IP Management and this is a prolific achievements. Researchwire is a family of diverse hi-tech professionals and it makes us proud when our senior  mentor leadership is recognized in a global community of IP professionals in IAM.

We highly appreciate IAM for recognizing our contribution to the domain of patent research, AI, semiconductor reverse engineering, and emerging markets!

As we evolve with the growing need for technology space imbibed with research and automation, we are happy to embark on the journey with the best wishes of all our clients and well-wishers for believing in us.

 

Full interview covered at IAM:  https://www.iam-media.com/survey/strategy-300-global-leaders/2022/article/praveen-singh

For more information:

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Why is patent due diligence important for your organization?

Hewlett-Packard (HP), the information technology giant, bought Autonomy for $11.1 billion, in 2012. They wanted to move away from computer hardware to computer software and buying Autonomy seemed like the smartest move to make. Inaccurate income statements, balance sheets, cash flows, and footnotes were a part of the due diligence oversight. Within 14 months after the deal, HP sold Autonomy by writing down more than 80% of the purchase price. 

 

If HP had followed the due diligence practices that they regularly did, they shouldn’t have had to write down the value of their purchase. Organizations should be mindful of following due diligence if they don’t want a botched deal. 

 

What is patent due diligence?

The process of carefully analyzing a company’s patent portfolio is called patent due diligence. It audits the quantity and the quality of IP assets owned by or licensed to a company, business, or individual. The assessment also includes how intellectual property is captured and protected by the business. 

IP due diligence is usually performed by a prospective buyer in relation to the IP assets of the target company. It can also be carried out by a company on its own assets in preparation for a business sale or to close a licensing deal. It tells you whether you can monetize your patents through licensing, enforcement or divestment. 

It also helps you assess the infringement risks posed by competitors’ patents or the patents of another business. 

 

Why conduct IP due diligence?

IP assets have become one of the most important assets that businesses could own. Therefore, it is imperative for businesses to understand the following: 

  • The quantity and quality of the IPs with them so that 3rd parties can put a value on them 
  • To identify IP assets that are not being used currently and whose maintenance costs are being unnecessarily paid
  • To assess whether all the IP assets are adequately protected 
  • To ensure that you have all the necessary rights to your IP assets in order
  • To check whether a third party is infringing on your IP rights 

 

When should a patent due diligence be performed? 

 

  • After you receive a Cease and Desist Letter, or a Notice Letter:

A cease and desist letter or notice is usually sent as a warning to infringers about the existence of the patent rights to initiate licensing discussions, enforce their patent rights, or secure the opportunity to collect damages. 

Such letters claim that the accused infringer stop their infringing conduct immediately. If a company receives such letters, it should ensure that they have a strategy in place to respond properly and reduce its risks. 

They should note the depth of the infringement analysis (usually provided by the patent holder). It will have details about the patent expiry date, and applicable state statutes which talk about the consequences of acting in bad faith. 

 

  • During Mergers & Acquisitions:

During an M&A transaction, the following things are assessed, whether the seller’s patent portfolios include critical company technology to confirm if all fees have been paid and no ownership issues or chain of title defects exist. Following these steps will permit the parties to assign a monetary value to the portfolio. The analysis at this stage can also include assessing the patent infringement risks posed by third-party patents on the technology that is going to be acquired. 

 

  • During divestment, or licensing

Divestment and licensing strategies allow the patent owners to determine how their patents will be utilized. If their portfolio affords broad patent protection, then the value of the technology is high. Valuing patents can be performed in a number of techniques, both quantitative and qualitative. Qualitative analysis helps in determining the scope and strength of the patent rights. On the other hand, a quantitative analysis leverages these findings to assign a monetary value to those rights.

 

  • For contingency reasons:

Patent due diligence can also be done for contingency reasons. If you believe that you might be sued for infringement, and would like to have a deeper understanding of your patent portfolio and how it fares against your competitor’s, then it is wise to conduct patent due diligence. Let’s say you are planning to sue a company that is infringing on your patents, then it is wise to invest in conducting patent due diligence.

 

  • Before filing a patent application:

Patent due diligence is also performed before filing a patent application. They are performed to identify and assess prior art references.

 

How to Conduct IP due diligence. 

Conducting IP due diligence requires professional skills and has to be done thoroughly. IP due diligence should be performed during the initial stages of negotiations itself. By doing so, you will identify if there are any legal issues that affect the value of the IP. While every business transaction is different, there are a set of requirements that should be met when conducting IP due diligence. Here are a few of them. 

 

  • Identify IP assets: 

You need to find the patents, trademarks, brand names, domain names, and any other tangible and intangible assets of the company that you are investigating. 

 

  • Verify ownership and existence of IP: 

One of the first things that are usually investigated during an IP due diligence process is IP ownership. To establish and recognize the seller’s rights, a series of questions are asked about each of the IP assets that are being considered. The IP assets should be easily transferable and there should not be any disputes. If there are disputes, it becomes difficult for the seller to transfer the title and rights of the IP asset to other parties. 

 

  • Check for areas covered in the IP

When you’re validating each IP asset, it is imperative that you check for the countries where IP rights are covered. Therefore, you need to identify which of the territories are protected. If the business operates in multiple countries and has not secured their rights in all the areas where they operate, you might not be able to leverage the IP in those areas. Do remember that IP assets like copyrights and patents are only valid for a certain period of time. You need to study the local IP laws of each directory to check the validity.

 

  • Checking for third party claims:

Apart from identifying IP ownership, it is also wise to check if there are any third-party claims with respect to the seller’s IP assets. There are times when a third-party might have got rights to an IP asset unknowingly. You need to check all the license agreements, franchisee agreements, joint venture agreements, MOUs, and other contracts to ascertain that you will be receiving exclusive rights once you buy the IP assets from the seller. 

 

  • Evaluate potential IP infringements:  

You also need to ascertain whether a third party is infringing on the seller’s IP rights or if the seller’s IP rights are infringing on another company’s assets. In either of these cases, the disputes that arise from it will negatively affect your business. You have to mandatorily conduct a freedom-to-operate search to check whether the investor can make use or sell their IP assets without infringing on any third-party rights. 

 

An FTO search will give you deeper insights into patent rights and tell you if there are any other roadblocks that you need to be careful about. It’s the FTO searches that show any roadblocks. You need to take the necessary steps to overcome them.

 

Steps to conduct due diligence properly:

  1. Ensure that you have a proper IP due diligence team in place. Discuss with IP professionals to see what can be expected from the transactions.
  2. Come up with an IP due diligence checklist based on what is necessary. 
  3. Segment the IP assets of the target that is relevant for the transaction. Segregate IP rights or protectable intangible insights from those that are not relevant. The IP due diligence should show the importance of connecting such additional IP rights with the main IP rights for the transaction. 
  4. Find out the nitty-gritty when it comes to IP ownership. Ensure that you collect information on other IP rights that might pose an issue in the future. 
  5. It is important that the facts collected are also double-checked so that there is no discrepancy. 
  6. Analyze the protected and protectable IP rights. Check for the IP’s status, validity, ownership, claim, and conflict. 
  7. After conducting all the above, prepare the final due diligence report. It should highlight the risks that are a part of the strategies and ways to reduce the risks and the liabilities. 
  8. Document, execute, and record the IP agreements. 

 

Conclusion:

Conducting due diligence is a non-negotiable activity for businesses to mitigate the risks involved. It should be done no matter what your IP portfolio composition looks like. Having a proper due diligence strategy and following it rightly provides a world of benefits for all the stakeholders involved. 

If you are looking for an end-to-end IP services firm to help with patent due diligence, ResearchWire will be glad to help you with it. Get on a call with us to understand how we can assist with your IP needs.  

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Everything you wanted to know about Freedom To Operate search

Also known as infringement analysis or clearance search, the objective of freedom to operate search is to check if any product or process utilised is infringing on a live patent’s claim. If there is no due diligence, the chances of infringing on someone’s intellectual property is high. An effective FTO search is what you need to do to stay safe from the dangers of litigation. 

 

What is Freedom to Operate Search?

It is used to find out if there is the freedom to operate and invent in a particular jurisdiction from a legal view.  If an FTO is found to be negative, then the entity aiming to operate the invention should not proceed to go ahead with the invention. 

An FTO search is part of the due diligence that organizations should carry out before they apply for a patent. A patent clearance search is also conducted during various places in the innovation process so that there is a proper allocation of R&D resources. When you conduct a thorough FTO search, it demonstrates due diligence on your part if you were to be ever accused of IP infringement. 

 

When should an FTO search be conducted? 

It should be conducted as early in the product development cycle as possible. Doing so will help avoid unnecessary costs, reduce the allocation of wasted resources, show opportunities to license existing technology,  save time, and mitigate the risk of litigation. A good FTO patent search can also enable the inventor an opportunity to develop a design ground early. 

 

Questions to consider before an FTO search?

Here are some of the questions that you should ask to determine your FTO search strategy. 

 

  1. Which stage of the innovation process are you in?

During the R&D process, you should have completed the FTO search a number of times. Depending on which stage of the innovation you are in, the way you approach the search will be different. Why? Because the claims in the potentially risky patent might change by the time you are ready to launch your product in the market.

      2. What is the investment for your invention?

If there is a lot of money involved, you should be sure about your freedom to operate. Ensure that you conduct extensive searches. For technologies (read inventions) that will only give a modest ROI, your FTO search need not be intensive. 

      3. What is your risk tolerance?

If you do not have much idea about your freedom to operate, then you have to be tolerant of the risk associated. Even risk-tolerant organizations might not want the threat of an infringement suit hanging against their heads. You might want to invest in a thorough FTO search at multiple points during the product development phase. 

      4. Does your industry patent often? 

There are some industries that are a lot more crowded with prior arts than others. If yours is an industry that creates patents often, then it is imperative that you conduct in-depth FTO searches. You can start by searching your direct competitor’s patents, industry-wide patent searches and utilize a search tool that has semantic and Boolean search capabilities. 

      5. Does litigation happen often in your industry?

Industries such as electrical equipment, biotech, electronics, consumers, telecommunication, will see a lot of patent infringement cases. If your product belongs to any of the industries mentioned above, then you need to protect yourself from infringement suits by conducting patent clearance searches. 

     6. Where will you operate?

The type of search strategy that you should use will depend on where you want to launch your product. 

 

Best Practices for Conducting Effective FTO Searches:

 

  • Jurisdiction Coverage:

FTO search is performed based on the jurisdiction where the inventor or company is likely to launch the products. It is necessary to consider and cover all the channels related to a particular jurisdiction. Otherwise, the searcher might miss important patents. 

 

  • Date restriction: 

While performing an FTO search, date restriction is an important aspect. Usually, all the alive patents are considered. Some alive patents might fall outside the 20-year criteria, even if they are not from the below-mentioned industries. One more thing to keep in mind is the domain in which the search has been conducted. There are domains like veterinary, pharmaceuticals, food additives, medical devices, etc., where there is the concept of patent term extension. 

The patent term extension cannot exceed five years. The aim is to offer an extension for the time period when the patent holder is waiting for regulatory approvals. Therefore, it’s pivotal to vary the date restriction based on the domain you are searching.

 

  • Targeting important domain players: 

There are important players who have a huge portfolio of patents in each domain. You should concentrate your searching efforts carefully to evaluate their updated portfolio. It is important that a searcher evaluate the portfolio of their company’s competitors and ensure that all-important patents owned by the competitors are being searched thoroughly. 

 

  • Citation search:

The backward and forward citations of a patent are usually the closest results to that particular patent in the domain. After the analysis is done, it is considered a best practice to do the citation search of the shortlisted patents. It will help the searcher to identify patents that could have been missed during the FTO search. It could be missed because of factors such as missing classification, translation mistakes or a missing keyword.

 

  • Similarity Search: 

Many databases provide you with a feature called the similarity search and it is crucial for FTO searching. This feature helps searchers identify close prior arts which might have been missed otherwise. Since each relevant patent has a huge significance with respect to FTO, we advise not to miss standard searching steps so that you can capture all the patents that disclose similar inventions. 

 

  • Patent Segregation to prioritize efforts:

Dividing the patents into different sets based on their claim length and legal status can help with effective searching and analysis. 

Claim Length: Comprehensive claim analysis of the patent is required during FTO searches. The scope of the invention is defined by the length of the main independent claim. As a rule, the shorter claim length of the main independent claim, it has a broader coverage of the domain. There are many searching databases, which provide the main independent claim length as a feature. 

Legal Status: It is also possible to divide the patent result as per the family legal status.

of the patent family. When you’re launching a product, only active and granted patents can pose obstacles. Therefore, these patents need to be carefully searched. 

 

  • Keywords and Classifications:

By searching the patents and products in the domain, it is possible to identify the keywords and classifications. Observe the diversified keywords that are used to disclose the same invention. You also need to track classifications throughout the search process as it’ll help you gain insights as to which class includes most of the patents of interest. Iterate the old strings with the help of updated keywords so that no obvious buttons are missed while reporting the FTO search.

 

  • Report the findings:  

The findings need to be put in an easy-to-understand manner. Ensure that there are no communication gaps by structuring the findings in the report properly. 

 

Categorizing the results:

The results should be categorized to define different sets of results in an easy way. At ResearchWire, we use the following labels- High, Medium and Low Risk. The claims of the ‘Relevant’ patents can be quite broad and the product could appear to infringe the protected subject matter of these patents. The ‘Potentially relevant’ and the ‘Related’ categories are patents whose claims might include a few restrictive features. The product may or may not be infringing on the claims.

 

Report the patents in the decreasing order:

For FTO searches, it is best to report the patents in the decreasing order of their risk level. It reduces the time taken by the client to check the results quickly. 

 

Legal Status:

The legal status is dynamic in nature as it gets updated regularly by the patent office. The update is based on factors such as patent life, the status of the maintenance fee payment, disputes, etc. While preparing the reports, make sure that you check the legal status of all the relevant patents. 

 

Latest claims:

Since the FTO patent search is a claim-oriented search, the latest claims and pending applications are considered for analysis. To ensure the best quality, each claim of all the active and granted patents should be ratified with the National patent office websites. 

 

Conclusion:

There is immense potential to calculate the chances of infringement in advance through FTO analysis. A correct FTO analysis can not only measure the probability of avoiding patent infringement litigation, but can also provide you with new business opportunities by showing what is available in the technology that you’ve chosen. It also minimizes the risks of infringement of the rights of third parties. 

Are you looking for a partner to take care of your Intellectual Property needs? The team at ResearchWire is capable of handling any type of IP issue that your company might be facing. We are experienced at building custom solutions for your specific intellectual property needs.

Get in touch with us to understand how we can help you. 

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How to leverage the full potential of Google Patent Search

There has been a tremendous improvement in patent searching in the past decade. The objective behind searching for patents is to find prior art for an existing patent or for an invention for which a patent application is yet to be filed. Earlier, searchers and inventors used to manually search, spending hundreds of hours to find invention(s) similar to their idea. 

 

A quick way to search for patents is using Google Patent Search. The world’s most popular search engine does more than just crawl websites to send you their search results. Google’s sister search engine Google Patent (Database from IFI Claims) can not only search scholarly literature, but it also has the ability to search a huge repository of non-patent literature too- software, applications, manuscripts, and published articles. Google Scholar lets you search government databases too, thus increasing the reach of the patent search. 

 

What is Google Patent Search?

It is a search engine powered by Google which indexes patents and patent applications. Google Patents indexes 87 million patents and patent applications, with full text from more than 17 patent offices around the world. Launched on December 14, 2006, it uses the same technology as Google Books. Google Patents includes text-searchable patents dating back as far as the 1790s. 

 

Advantages of Google Patents:

One of the biggest advantages of Google Patent Search is that it is free. Although there are a number of free patent databases such as Espacenet, PQAI, Lens.org, Patentscope by WIPO, and more, none of them matches Google’s in terms of user-friendliness. There is a lot of content to navigate for the average searcher, and the experience on these sites while browsing, is important, otherwise, it can be too difficult to get the work done. 

There are many paid databases too, but a solo inventor might not be able to cough up the costs to get the license for them. Google Patents has a much better interface than all of these paid databases. You will also be able to get the results faster, they are provided in an easy-to-share PDF format, and the information is presented in a digestible format. 

  • It understands results with PDF, image and citations
  • Its relevancy ranking makes quick searches a reality
  • The results can also be filtered by date
  • Proximity Operators can be leveraged to improve the score if the documents have expressions near one another
  • Keyword and class-based search is possible  in the patent documents
  • Co-operative Patent Classification (CPC) code searching is easier
  • Searching on Google Patents is similar to searching anything on Google
  • You can get the most relevant results for your search query.
  • It is possible to find prior arts 
  • Provides similar documents/patents to the subject patent

 

How to use Google Patent Search?

Quick Search:

If you want to conduct a quick search, all you need to do is enter the term in the search field box. The search term can be a set of unstructured words, a large block of text relating to the invention or keywords pertaining to the technology. 

 

The searcher can also enter the following to get information about related patents:

  • Application number
  • Exact phrases with double quotes
  • CPC code 
  • Country code
  • Language
  • Publication number
  • Search for the inventor or assignee

For example, we have entered the search term as ‘medical equipment,’ and we are shown a list of patents that are in the medical equipment field. You will be able to see a number of options on the left side using which you can further filter the search results. The results are sorted for relevance, you can use other sorting options such as newest or oldest. The searcher can navigate through the result pages to find relevant patents. 

 

Importance of Boolean Operators in Google Patent Search:

To fine-tune one’s queries, searchers should use boolean operators and special characters. One of the best ways to leverage Google Patent Search is to understand how it interprets search requests. Here is how you can use it to its full extent. 

 

  • Keyword search rules:
  • The keywords that you use must be exact and specific
  • Be aware of the right keyword order in which you need to input your search query. The search term medical equipment is going to fetch you more relevant results relating to medical equipment than ‘equipment medical.’ 
  • The keyword searches are not case-sensitive. 

 

  • The AND Assumption:

If you type the keyword medical equipment, Google Patent Search is always going to assume it to be medical and equipment. Therefore, it will search for patents that contain the words medical and equipment. 

To search for a particular term, add a ‘+’ (plus) sign in between the words in the query.

 

  • NOT Command:

If you want to find patents without a certain search term, then you need to use the ‘-’ (minus) sign in front of the word in the query. The ‘-’ sign indicates that the searcher doesn’t want results of patents that contain that term. 

Make sure that there is no space between the minus symbol and the word. 

Laptop-touchscreen

 

When searching for patents related to laptops, if you don’t want anything that pertains to touchscreen technology, this is how you should input your query. For the above search, you will not get patents that talk about touchscreen.

 

  • While searching for a specific phrase:

When searching for an exact phrase, you can use quotation marks around the keywords. For example, if the searcher inputs:

“Contract Lifecycle Management”

Google Patents will only search for patents that will contain the entire phrase “contract lifecycle management.” 

Searchers can include more than one quoted string in a query. The implied AND works not only on individual words but also on quoted phrases. 

 

  • The OR Command:

When the searcher wants to search for one word or the other, they should enter OR (in capitals) between the keywords. Any or all the search terms separated by the OR should appear in the record. 

Chip OR Charger

In the above scenario, Google Patents will search for patents containing either the word chip or the word charger. 

 

Google Patents Advanced Search:

On the Google Patents interface, you can get the advanced search option by clicking the link ‘patents.google.com/advanced.’ It has more search fields that will help you search for the desired patent applications. Let’s see what these fields are and how they can be used for different types of searches.

 

Search Terms: Use the space to enter all the relevant keywords.

Before priority/publication/filing: In this search field, you can enter the priority date, date of publication or filing date of any patent. By entering the relevant details, you will be able to search for documents that are published, filed or have a priority date before a particular date. This feature can also be used for invalidity searches where the intent is to find out documents that have been published before a particular date. 

After priority/publication/filing: Using this search field, you can search patent documents that are published, filed or have a priority date after a particular date. 

Assignee: In this search field, you can search for patents that have been filed by a particular company or person. It is possible to track the patent filing activities of that person/company using this field.

Patent Office: If you want to search for patents from a particular jurisdiction, this is the field that you need to use. You can search patent documents from more than 23 jurisdictions around the globe using this search field. 

Inventor: With this, you can search for patents filed by a particular inventor and can also track their patent filing activities. 

Filing status: You can search for the status of specified patent applications.

Patent Type: You can do a patent search for design or utility patents here.

CPC: Search for patent documents based on a particular CPC.

Citing Patent: It allows you to search for patent documents for which only one particular document was cited during the examination.

Languages: You can search for patent documents in 14 languages. 

With more and more filters added to your patent search, you will be able to get more accurate results. 

For the same search term, we have added the patent office as the US and the type of patent as design, the number of search results has dwindled down to 2,884. Earlier, it was 134,000+ results. 

Source: Google Patent Search

It is best advised to use relevant parameters to get the most relevant results. 

 

Limitations of Google Patents Search:

Since the patent database of Google is not updated regularly, you might not be able to find the latest data, and it may only have the first version of each patent. Also, since this is a free portal, Google does not take responsibility for the information that is presented in its search results. Therefore, you need to check for the veracity of the information from the respective patent offices or use a professional to confirm the same. This might not be the case with paid databases as they will verify the claims made here. 

For those who are beginning, Google Patent Search is a wonderful tool, but if you are looking for a comprehensive set of results, then it is advised to take the services of a professional. There are some inventions that are so complex, and are not easy for inventors to search nor would they have the time to pore through the vast literature in a reasonable period of time without professional help. 

 

Wrapping up:

If you are looking to get a basic idea related to your invention, then Google Patent Search should be your go-to tool. As we have mentioned above, it does come with a few limitations. When the purpose of your search is not critical, you needn’t think twice about using it. Let’s say you spend hundreds of hours poring through a large amount of patent literature, you are either doing it wrong or you’ve struck gold in terms of an invention. 

Are you looking for a partner for all your Intellectual Property related needs?

The team at ResearchWire is capable of handling any type of IP issue. We are experienced at building custom solutions for your specific intellectual property needs. 

CONNECT WITH US

 

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