We recently met with Andrew Samm, a director of Patently - a company that provides a search and analytics software platform.
RH - What was the genesis of Patently – I understand it span out of a UK IP law firm?
AS -It came about because the IP law firm ultimately did not trust the data that they could get from other sources – public and paid for - to handle the data verification required to check patent portfolios that the law firm was taking on from other attorney firms. Published patents and their data is all in the public domain, but the data is notoriously ‘dirty’ and error-ridden. We ended up developing our own database, initially for internal use by the law firm. Then utilising our skill set, we use our developers, patent searchers and attorneys qualified in different jurisdictions to improve the data. This we contend has made the data we supply more easily digestible and understandable than other patent data sources.
RH- In practice, what does this mean?
AS- It means that we are combining data from disparate sources, organising it intelligently, particularly when it comes to our treatment of patent families. We also parse the data to remove duplicates and check for false links. E.g. those caused by number transpositions that link one case to another erroneously. We are also checking statuses, organising sub-families by invention and checking priority links. We are doing lots of these little things which combined provide a better/cleaner and ultimately more useful data set.
RH-Who’s using the system?
AS-Primarily IP law firms and companies with in-house IP function. The feature set of the Patently platform has been essentially client led. We spend a lot of time developing the UI so it presents patents in an intuitive manner that then can be reviewed, rated, annotated and shared with other people within a team.
RH-What else is different about Patently?
AS- Again, led by our clients, we have spent a lot of time and effort developing our Standards Module which currently contains ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) SEP (Standards Essential Patents) data. Now that’s quite a mouthful with a lot of acronyms, but concerns allowing users to query which company has declared which patents essential to different telecoms standards, e.g., 4G & 5G and to run analytics on these. We allow users to slice and dice the data in a variety of different ways to suit their use cases. E.g., we allow users to review all family members associated with the base patent that was declared to the standard, as sometimes there are variations with a family. It’s a growing market with wide applications beyond mobile telephony such as autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things. Patently has also been used to support recent patent litigation concerning SEP’s and FRAND licensing. So again, it comes down as it always does to being able to clean data effectively and then present it usefully.
RH- Many thanks Andrew