Patent landscape reports describe the patent situation for a specific technology in a given country, region or on the global level. They usually start with a state-of-the-art search for the technology of interest in suitable patent databases. The results of the search are then analyzed to answer specific questions, e.g. to identify certain patterns of patenting activity (Who is doing what? What is filed where?) or certain patterns of innovation (innovation trends, diversity of solutions for a technical problem, collaborations). An essential component of each patent landscape report is the visualization of these results in order to facilitate their understanding, and certain conclusions or recommendations based on the empirical evidence provided by the search and analysis.
Patent landscapes can therefore be useful for policy discussions, strategic research planning or technology transfer. However, they provide only a snapshot of the patenting situation at a certain point in time. In a wider sense, some patent landscapes reports may analyze the validity of patents by referring to legal status data, and thereby form a basis, e.g., for freedom to operate analysis.
WIPO’s Patent Landscape Reports are based on the Development Agenda project “Developing Tools for Access to Patent Information”. The project is described in document CDIP/4/6, adopted by the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) in 2009.
WIPO has been mandated to prepare patent landscape reports in areas of particular interest to developing and least developed countries, such as public health, food security, climate change and environment. For that purpose, WIPO is developing in cooperation with interested external partners, such as institutions from member States, intergovernmental or non-governmental organizations, the scope of each report. The author of each report is selected in a tendering process based on specific terms of reference.
Patent landscape reports on various topics have been published by international organizations, national intellectual property offices, non-governmental organizations and private sector entities. WIPO has compiled a list of such reports that are freely available or can be obtained upon request, either free of charge or for a fee.