We sat down with our Chief Commercial Officer Jeppe Hudtloff Viinberg to talk about client retention and how RightHub helps law firms build a closer collaboration with their clients.
RH: Client retention is crucial for any software provider. How does your IPMS (intellectual property management software) contribute to client retention for law firms and businesses? Are there any specific features or benefits that enhance the overall client experience?
JHV: Yes, I think so - actually, quite a lot. The whole platform is designed for law firms to build a closer collaboration with their clients, and that's why it is designed as a client portal, so to say, where law firms are able to brand themselves with logos, images and provide access to their clients. The more the clients get accustomed to using this platform, the stickier it gets to them and thereby the stickier the law firm gets to that client. You could then argue when all law firms are using our platform, then that's not really an advantage.
But when law firms are using our platform and they are competing with another law firm that also has our platform, I think the next bit of stickiness we're building comes in – and it is all about adding notifications; adding notes; and so on in the system. And that's proprietary data, which is not publicly available. It's notes that the law firm and the client have made together and stored that on this system which again makes the platform sticky.
I want to mention that publicly available data for registrations is one aspect. However, the more confidential information, such as contracts, undertakings, coexistence agreements, litigation actions, and so on, can be stored on our platform as matters. These matters can then be linked to the corresponding IP records. This combination allows you to link ongoing or previous matters to your registrations, providing a unique connection between matters and proprietary IP records. You won't find this link anywhere else. The platform becomes more valuable as you use it, leading to increased client loyalty and engagement with the law firm. That's the underlying concept behind the platform.
Additionally, we are building client-specific micro-services that are then only available for that specific law firm. So, then that law firm will have its own features and then still have an edge in the market. Then we become their outsourced development team too.
RH: Actually, this would have been my second question - How does your software help law firms and businesses build stronger relationships with their clients? So, I think this is what you just talked about, but do you want to add anything?
JHV: One of the things we focus on is ensuring transparency and operational efficiency within the law firm. We offer a renewal flow where lower prices are available for standard tasks such as renewals or filing recordals, but the condition is that clients use our platform to automate the associated processes. This way, they only pay for our expert advice and document review, allowing for reduced prices. It helps lawyers navigate the competitive landscape without compromising the entire portfolio and the workload involved in portfolio management. Lawyers are keen on litigation, opposition work, and contract-related tasks, all of which revolve around IP management. However, they often struggle to make IP management profitable and scalable. That's where our platform comes in, automating these processes and employing skilled paralegals in the UK and Sweden to make portfolio management a profitable business for lawyers. This enables them to focus on high-value advisory tasks that require their expertise. That's how the whole platform is designed.
RH: What would you say are the top things that set RightHub's solution apart in this competitive landscape?
JHV: If you take a deep dive into the Internet and Google the management of our top competitors, you'll find that hardly anyone has experience working with IP. That's a key differentiator. Our CEO was previously a patent attorney and I have worked as a trademark lawyer and litigator. Our CPO used to handle formalities at Marks and Clark, so he's familiar with manual, tedious tasks, and our president for North America is also a lawyer. Our CTO has extensive industry experience, and we also have our Head of IP Operations who's skilled in admin and portfolio formalities. Our leadership team has extensive knowledge about IP and its associated processes. Knowing this gives us a significant advantage when discussing challenges with clients and building a platform tailored to overcome these obstacles. It's one of our key differentiators in the competitive landscape.
RH: How does your software prioritize user friendly interfaces and intuitive workflows?
JHV: Oh, that's a good question. I don't know if I'm the one to do this. I think our existing customers should be the ones giving input. But it has been a cornerstone from day one that our platform needs to be modern, smart, simplified, but also intuitive so that users that don't really use the platform on a daily basis should be able to log in, provide instructions to renew or to file, but also to retrieve a registration certificate to get an overview where they need it.
So, I think that we have come some way, but I'm not oblivious and I'm aware that there is still a lot more to be done. That's why we organize client seminars at least twice a year for both corporates and law firms. During these seminars, they can contribute information about the user experience and guide us in the discovery phase of what to build. It is crucial to listen to our customers. Although we ultimately make the decisions on development, we prioritize building according to our clients' needs because without good customers, we won't be successful.
RH: And looking ahead, what new features or developments can customers expect from RightHub?
JHV: They can expect the most powerful platform for managing all types of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, designs, copyrights, and even domain names, directly in one platform. These features are interconnected with our community space, where users can access agents and a marketplace offering industry-specific fees. This allows users to calculate their budgets instantly and activate clients and agents directly within the platform.
And the best part is they don't actually need to use our platform to be able to fulfil the tasks that our platform then distributes all over the world. Our platform efficiently distributes work worldwide, leveraging network effects similar to successful unicorn SaaS companies. By providing lawyers with insights into their work distribution, such as the volume sent and received in different countries or to specific agents, we facilitate cross-border and global business transactions.
And what's on everybody's lips is generative AI, and how to use AI. I hope that within a few months we can reveal what we call automated docketing, where we also utilize generative AI. Imagine the scenario where you receive a provisional refusal from an authority. Instead of that just being sent to you in an email that your paralegal would come to eventually, it comes directly into your inbox. It gets OCR scanned and the important dates and numbers are extracted. All of the content of that may be 5-10 pages. A PDF document is summarised by Bard or ChatGPT so that you can easily understand what it is, and then you can put your expertise advice on top of that and then you can ship it off to the client instantly.
Maybe only spending 20 to 30 minutes, but those 20-30 minutes are 100% expertise. It's billable. It's amazing for the lawyers and it's amazing for the clients because they only pay for the expertise that they need and they don't want anyone to be sitting around reading and summarising because, hey, they can do that now.
And of course, this is extremely interesting for the whole industry. How the legal industry and such are using quite a lot of effort on generative AI - but we are looking at generative AI for the IP industry, which is extremely specific. So, I'm looking forward to revealing this as well.