An Area Visual Index shows the pattern of patenting or publishing activity for a segment. A Visual Index is useful to identify the overall development status of an area and to find specific patents or documents that describe critical concepts or product ideas.
An Area Visual Index starts with a word/phrase search in the Data Matrix. On an Area Visual Index, each diamond is a patent or document. Each line belongs to a parent company or inventor. The company at the top has the most patents or documents in the group. The group at the bottom, the Explorers, is a collection of companies or inventors that are present in the search only once. All other participants are rank ordered by the number of patents, applications or documents.
The colored boxes in an Area Visual Index highlight key patterns. The blue box generally highlights the area leaders, companies or individuals with a strong commitment to the area. The yellow box generally highlights the newest ideas in the area and the newest entrants to the area. The white box highlights those companies that have come and gone from the space.
A Visual Index allows an analyst to see at at glance who the dominant players are and how committed they are to the ideas defined by the search. It allows a fast determination of what is new and where to find it. An Area Visual Index also shows what companies have tried and abandoned for one reason or another.
Clicking on a diamond in a Visual Index reveals the details for that patent or document. Clicking on a diamond also reveals a five-level, user-defined rating system. The rating system is red for very critical, blue for second etc.
This Visual Index comes from a study of patents in pizza crusts. The topic is defined by a word phrase search for fats, oils and triglycerides. This is an area of moderate complexity and there are a few player with long patenting histories. One or two leaders have short, active patenting history.