Innovation cartography and patentomics: Past, present and future
One method for determining investment targets in any business sector is to determine where entities are focusing their development strategies to enhance innovation. One signal that can be used to judge where companies are innovating is publically available patent information. Using patent data is a complex process, but one that has become more viable over the last decade due to the open availability of patents online, and importantly the enhancement in software and hardware tools. This paper looks at the evolution of such tools, using research and development in crops as an example. Crop development is one element of global food security. It may require access to plant genes data, plant patents and related information. When access to such data is restricted, innovation may stall. There are many hindrances to access, such as economic power, but they also include the legal rights created by patents, copyright and contracts. The mapping of legal rights in the innovation landscape, one that is dominated by patents, is one tool to help understand the scientific directions and investment in the field. This paper reviews the legal rights mapping in the crop innovation landscape as an example of how patent cartography can aid knowledge of sector directions. Following an introduction, some of the literature on mapping patent data is surveyed. This is followed by a review of the research on mapping legal rights in materials from databases. The fourth part explores the potential of a cartography tool we have developed to enhance our understanding of innovation landscapes. The chapter concludes by drawing together the current state of knowledge on mapping legal rights in the crop innovation landscape.