What is a “Super-Patent”? How would you analyse its litigation risk?

What is a super patent?

Back in 2008 Parchomovsky and Wagner published one of my favourite academic articles on patents, “Patent Portfolios‘, found here. In this paper they introduced the concept of a “Super-Patent”:

“..a collection of closely related patents defining a patent portfolio can be said to operate as a “super-patent” in much the same way that the holding of a U.S. patent grants the right to exclude others from the scope of its claims—the holding of a patent portfolio will allow the holder to exclude others from the collective scope of its claims. Where such patents are both (patentably) distinct yet cover coterminous subject matter,  the breadth of the right to exclude conferred by a patent portfolio is essentially the sum of the individual patent rights.

But the scale advantages of patent portfolios are more than merely additive. The broader protection conferred by patent portfolios offers a range of benefits to the holder different in kind as well as size from a simple collection of unrelated individual patents.” 

With the benefits including:

  • Freedom of movement to innnovate in new areas 
  • Encourage other innovator with work with the patent owners
  • Discourages litigation as it is hard to litigate against a whole portfolio of patents
  • Assists capital raising


How you would analyse the licensing potential and litigation risk of a Super-patent?

The recently developed patent searching tool Cluster Searching is ideal for analysing closely related portolios of patents, i.e. super-patents. As an example, consider the analysis just published by Dr Alex Lee of  TechIPm, of Boston. Dr Lee has used Cluster Searching to analyse what we might consider a ‘super-patent’ (portfolio) of patents for self-driving cars owned by Google – and use the results to predict litigation risks in the area.



Dr Lee has published an number of similar articles, including on patents for smart homes, connected cars and NFC payments.

Ambercite has also published a number of similar assessment, including for a portfolio of high tech batteries, which demonstrates the Licensing Potential analysis available in . As can be seen in this examples, this is analysis is straight forward using Cluster Searching, and ideally suited for working with closely related groups of patents .i.e. “Super-patents”.


Want to try this for yourself?

Ambercite offers free and completely confidential two week trials to Cluster Searching – please contact us to arrange a demonstration and trial. Testimonials for Cluster Searching are found here, including:

Can be a fantastic tool for technical/IP in terms of opportunity finding and to establish the landscape; in terms of how active an area is already and who potentially owns patents in that area, including who files good patents in that area. It’s also good for company landscape searches, and indicating how strong competition is in a particular area” – IP manager, global manufacturing company.


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