Blockchain Startup Hopes To Streamline Patent System
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Innovators filed 3.17 million patents in 2017, representing the eighth consecutive year of growth. In the same year, nearly 14 million patents were in force, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). However, knowing where to locate these patents is easier said that done.
To rectify the issue, IPwe is building the world’s first blockchain-based patent platform. Located in Paris, IPwe is a service for the patent ecosystem to come together to transact, interact, and communicate. It’s also one of ten blockchain companies in IBM’s Blockchain Accelerator program.
Bringing AI To The Patent System
Most of the team were already working together when the company was founded in 2017, explains IPwe analyst Franklin Bruscianelli. Prior to founding IPwe, CEO Erich Spangenberg had previously launched nXn Partners, which focused on predictive analysis.
After investing over $20 million and developing AI for more than ten years, nXn had created better artificial intelligence solutions, which were used to make hundreds of millions dollars in the patent space. Later, in 2015, the founders started looking into blockchain implications to see how DLT could improve the system.
“Back in the early days of developing these analytic tools, we would often talk about how inefficient the patent market was and we were amazed it operated in the way it did,” Bruscianelli explains. “When we started working on IPwe in early 2017 we realized that the market conditions and technology finally existed to enable the global patent market.”
IPwe is a multisided platform where the patent ecosystem can obtain information and interact. At the heart are the AI tools, Zuse Analytics, which give users access to more than 59 million patent records and two million technical publications.
“Zuse implements a suite of cutting-edge machine learning and AI techniques to revolutionise patent analytics,” Bruscianelli said in an interview with Crypto Briefing. “Zuse Analytics helps you make better business decisions with intellectual property data at your fingertips.”
Lowering the cost of Patent ownership
IPwe’s Global Patent Registry is a secure, open blockchain registry of the world’s verified patents. With 200 independent and regional patent offices worldwide, the registry solves the problems of a segmented database.
“Whether you are simply curious or an expert, you can come to the IPwe platform and use our AI tools for free to answer whatever questions you may have,” Bruscianelli says. “If you want to transact – buy, sell, license, pay an annuity fee, obtain funding, buy insurance or hire a lawyer or expert – you come to the IPwe platform and all of those transactions occur in one place.”
Transactions are enabled by smart contracts on the IPwe, built on IBM’s Hyperledger. The registry also includes a large number of universities, corporations, and research organizations who have verified their portfolios.
IPwe benefits by accessing information from the patent offices that chose to make this information available. The big difference is we take this information and clean it, analyse it, repackage it, and make it available without fees. IPwe is a transaction business focused on lowering the cost of patent ownership.
The end goal is to increase the rate of innovation, and boost the return on investment (ROI) for government, private and non-profit stakeholders by lowering the barriers for patent transactions.
“IPwe is using blockchain technology to bring transparency to the patent industry and reduce transactional friction,” Bruscianelli says. “IPwe’s blockchain and AI innovations also produce transactional benefits. Today, doing simple things such as paying an annuity or licensing a patent involves a number of intermediaries and manual cross-border communications.”
However, with the use of smart contracts, IPwe can reduce complexity and costs, by ensuring the integrity and automation of distributed tasks.
Another Card on IBM’s Table
With the World Trade Organization (WTO), predicting that blockchain’s economic value could be worth more than $3 trillion by 2030, it’s no wonder that companies like IBM are keen to embrace the technology.
“We’re helping some of the best startups in the world rapidly scale their blockchain networks, giving enterprises real, vetted options to use blockchain in a variety of industries and use cases,” said Jules Miller, a partner at the IBM Blockchain Accelerator. “We’re hoping to help more companies take blockchain for enterprise out of the experimentation phase and into the adoption phase.”
The author is invested in digital assets.