“Who wants better patents faster and for less money?” asks patent attorney Chris Holt.
His rhetorical question is well received by the crowd of entrepreneurs and investors who know firsthand how challenging it can be to navigate the nuances of such a bureaucratic and opaque process.
And having personally lived in the trenches of patent warfare for 10 plus years, Holt is intimately familiar with the shortcomings of an antiquated system. Thus the basis of his own recent invention called PatentCore.
“The problem is there are 7,000 US patent examiners and 500,000 patent applications filed every year. There is tremendous variation across examiners around what happens to your application after it’s filed. It can literally be a chess game, often resulting in a very confusing, expensive and slow situation,” says the tech entrepreneur by night and weekend.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot more involved than just merit.”
A self-labeled data dork, Holt describes PatentCore as a “nerds tool” for individual and corporate inventors seeking transparency and understanding throughout their daily lives.
It works by first aggregating a database of 2.5 million patent applications and 60 million unique documents provided by the office itself. The automated software system tags, parses and categorizes dynamic real time statistics on patent examiners both individually and in segmented groups — as they often work together.
For a monthly fee, PatentCore provides other attorneys, global inventors, and large corporate customers with subscription-based access to reporting tools with historical context and analytics around the grantee’s decision making abilities — or lack thereof. Factors such as the number of iterations, timing, and efficacy of examiners and their collective ‘art units’ are taken into consideration. “It’s about comparison as a basis of relativity,” he summarizes.
“Think of us as the Moneyball of patents…it’s a living system of layered analysis on top this massive pool of data and we’re the only solution focused on the pre-grant process.”
Supported by partner and financier Joseph Kelly, PatentCore launched in January and has found at least one enterprise buyer (so far) in Seagate. He says there are 40,000 patent professionals registered with the patent office and at least 1,000 companies with more than 100 pending patent applications at any given point in time, citing a $200m+ market opportunity at stake.
While it may not be the sexiest of this years Minnesota Cup high tech semi-finalists, it’s definitely one of the more mature entries and judges will be hard pressed not to vote this well rounded startup into the next round. Personally, I’d be shocked not to see PatentCore on the shortlist of division finalists.
“For the first time ever, we’re shining a light on the process which is already making waves within the industry by improving inefficiencies through a little kick in the pants. Advancing in the Minnesota Cup will only accelerate the inevitable,” he affirms.