Creativity Tools for Filling the IP White Space: a Guide for Counsel and Inventors


Patent counsels and inventors face the challenge of identifying and capitalizing on unexplored areas, also known as “IP white space,” in today’s highly competitive intellectual property (IP) world. They can successfully navigate this terrain by utilizing creativity tools that help in directing invention, expanding claims, and maximizing the potential for patent filings. In this article, we will investigate several such tools and provide examples of how they can be implemented in the real world.

An Explanation of Creativity Tools

“creativity tools” refers to strategies and procedures that encourage innovative thinking. These tools act as catalysts, allowing patent counsels and inventors to develop unique ideas and inventions. They make it possible to explore uncharted territories in a structured manner, which increases the likelihood of producing valuable intellectual property.

One example of a creativity tool is associative thinking, where patent counsels and inventors gather to generate a wide range of ideas. Encouraging open and free associations allows participants to explore different angles and perspectives, leading to innovative solutions and inventions. During these sessions, they can use techniques like “lions-den” or “visually identifying relationships” to structure their thoughts and uncover new possibilities.

Patent White Space

The “Patent White Space” Is Revealed The term “filing in the patent white space” refers to targeting areas with a scarcity of existing patents or a lack of invention. This can be done by filing a patent application. Patent counsels and inventors can strategically focus their efforts on developing inventions that are more likely to be granted patents if they first identify the gaps in the existing patent landscape and then work to fill them.

Let’s say a patent counsel specializing in renewable energy technologies identifies a gap related to solar-powered water desalination systems in the patent white space. They realize that very few patents address this specific combination of technologies. By filling this white space, they can develop a novel invention that efficiently converts solar energy into clean water, providing a sustainable solution to water scarcity in coastal regions.

Analyzing Competitors

Tool for Analyzing Competitors One of the helpful tools for creativity is the tool for analyzing competitors. Inventors can identify gaps in their intellectual property portfolios by researching key competitors and the patents already held by those competitors. These voids present opportunities to develop patents superior to competitors’ inventions or fill the gaps left by those inventions.

Using a competitor analysis tool, an inventor in the smartphone industry discovers that a major competitor lacks patents related to innovative user interface displays patents. Recognizing this gap, the inventor and patent counsel can focus on developing a unique and user-friendly interface, filing patents that outshine the competitor’s offerings. This strategic move allows them to gain a competitive edge and attract customers with a fresh and intuitive user experience.

Trend Analysis

Automated tools can analyze patent trends within specific categories, as the Trend Lapse graph shows. This tool identifies patents that have not adhered to the prevalent trends, pointing to potential white space areas (inconsistent trends). Inventors can capitalize on emerging opportunities by developing innovations in previously unexplored areas.

An automated trend analysis tool reveals a white space in the medical device industry where advancements in telemedicine have not been adequately explored. Recognizing this opportunity, an patent counsel and inventor develop a remote monitoring device that integrates seamlessly with telehealth platforms. They create a cutting-edge solution that revolutionizes remote patient care by capitalizing on this emerging trend and filling the white space.

University View

The “University view” tool allows users to identify active universities and research institutions in a given area. The results of their research are not always directly applicable or capable of being manufactured. On the other hand, patent counsels and inventors can use this information to their advantage to invent practical solutions and file patents on top of the research and development done by the university.

Using the “University view” tool, a patent counsel and inventor identify a prominent university researching nanomaterials with unique optical properties. Although the university’s research may not immediately apply to commercial products, the patent counsel recognizes the potential for practical applications. They patent the technology in the display and sensor technologies areas.

Claim Type Analysis

Reviewing existing patents to identify common claim types can be aided using tools that analyze claim types. New claim types, such as kits, business models, or functional claims, which may not occupy the white space of intellectual property, can be used to get new patents and a key position in the white space. Inventors can create new inventions and claims that stand out from the existing landscape by using these findings in drafting.

A patent counsel specializing in biotechnology uses a claim-type analysis tool and discovers a dearth of patents involving CRISPR gene editing technology. Further, they recognize all the patents are on the specific gene editing analysis but not on applications. Recognizing this white space, they develop novel inventions that leverage CRISPR applications, such as enhancing crop yields, increasing disease resistance, and improving food production efficiency. They establish a strong intellectual property position in a growing market by claiming these unique agricultural applications.

Critical Parameters Claims

White Space Critical Parameter Claims In many patents, the ranges of various variables within the various types of claims leave opportunities for obtaining new claims. These opportunities are referred to as “IP white space.” Automated tools can identify these critical parameter gaps, allowing inventors to stake their claims to their inventions in novel ways. Patent counsels and inventors can bolster their intellectual property position by investigating previously unexplored parameter ranges.

While analyzing an existing patent portfolio, an inventor identifies an opportunity in the white space related to adjustable prosthetic limbs. They realize that existing patents in this area lack claims specifying optimized adjustment mechanisms (in X, Y, Z, and “rotation ranges”) for personalized fitting. By filing patents on critical parameter claims and adding rotational ranges, they introduce new and efficient ways to customize prosthetic limbs, enhancing comfort, mobility, and overall user experience.

Analysis of Individual Inventors

Analyzing the white space in intellectual property can reveal areas where individual inventors, instead of companies, file patents. When this occurs, inventing additional features and then filing patent claims on top of these individuals’ existing inventions may be advantageous. This practice enables inventors to create trading cards, which can then be used to attract potential purchasers interested in acquiring these patents.

Through the IP white space analysis, a patent counsel and inventor discovered an individual inventor filing patents related to wearable motion fitness technology. Recognizing the potential value of these patents, they further develop and refine the inventions by adding other sensors to fitness technology, such as sweat monitoring. This expands the IP on top of the individual inventors and could be very useful to attract potential buyers interested in acquiring innovative wearable fitness technologies.

Tools for Generating Landscape Cross Maps

Automated tools for generating landscape cross maps comprehensively analyze patents “elements” in a particular area. Inventors and patent counsel can identify claim elements that are unrealized as yet, by comparing the claim elements used frequently to those used infrequently in their work. These components can be utilized as fruitful sources for generating new claims.

An inventor utilizing a landscape cross-map tool in the automotive industry identifies that while numerous patents cover autonomous driving technology and driving performance, there is a scarcity of patents related to autonomous driving and in-car personalized entertainment systems. Leveraging this insight, they file patents for an immersive in-car entertainment platform that adapts to passengers’ preferences and provides a unique driving experience. By focusing on this underrepresented claim element, they carve out a niche in the market.


In conclusion, creativity tools play a vital role in intellectual property by empowering patent counsels and inventors to explore uncharted territories and fill the white space. Through tools such as brainstorming sessions, competitor analysis, trend analysis, the “University view,” claim type analysis, critical parameter claims, analysis of individual inventors, and landscape cross maps, inventors can uncover valuable opportunities for innovation and patent filings. These tools enable them to identify gaps in existing patents, leverage emerging trends, collaborate with research institutions, develop unique claims, and tap into undiscovered parameter ranges. By harnessing the power of creativity tools, patent counsels and inventors can enhance their chances of securing valuable patents and gaining a competitive advantage in their respective fields. With these tools at their disposal, they are well-equipped to navigate the intricate landscape of intellectual property and drive impactful advancements in innovation.

There are hundreds of creativity tools for analyzing IP white space, many automated, available to enhance the IP in a filing in the IP White Space.