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About us

The Best of IP and AI

A team of talented legal, IP, technical and strategic support experts – we share a single, simple, hugely powerful vision – to transform IP data into competitive advantage.

Innovation Behind the Times

Conceived by Nigel Swycher, CEO and former head of the IP practice at Slaughter and May, and technically realised by Steve Harris, CTO, Cipher applies the latest advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence to an innovative top-down approach to patent analytics.

Starting with the appreciation that individually patents hold only limited intrinsic business value, Nigel realised that it’s their interconnectivity, the way they combine within a business environment that gives them their strategic importance. IP is a trillion dollar asset class accounting for a considerable part of the economic value of all companies.

“It’s time that the world understood the importance of IP” was the imperative that drove Nigel to set up Aistemos to build Cipher.

Every Sector is Tech

Today every sector is underpinned by technology. The internet was the start. On-line retail. Amazon and eBay. Media followed. iTunes, Napster and Netflix. Automotive is next. Will our grandchildren ever need to drive? FinTech will transform money and the role of banks. And IP plays a role in defining the winners and losers – and even between the winners, who gets what share of the pie?

Patents have always been essential and respected in the biotech and pharma sectors. Often a handful of patents support billions of dollars of revenue. It’s not only the IP profession that pays close attention. The main board, investors and the business ecosystem understand the role of IP. Then came telecommunications, and the proliferation of mobile devices. Still – just one more sector, with a handful of all powerful handset manufacturers.

It’s no longer a few patents, it’s 80m patents in 100 countries and languages. And mapping patents to products is not 1:1. Over 250,000 patented inventions are incorporated in an iPhone (Apple’s entire portfolio is 15,500!). And literally 1000s of owners. We are only at the beginning of Industry 4.0. Everything will be connected. Recent estimates suggest 50 billion connected “things” by 2020. That’s not all phones – think sensors, smart meters … and the fridge.

Welcome to the IP Age

‘Welcome to the IP Age’ is a talk by David Kappos (partner at Cravath). We offer you the same greeting. Our recent IP Strategy Report confirms that IP is well on its way to routinely being a main board item. Our vision is to provide the analytics required by the multi-disciplinary teams who now drive the innovation agenda.

Cipher is not a specialist patent tool confined to those who prepare and file individual patents. That market is well served. Cipher is the first accessible source of IP business intelligence to help with the decisions which will ultimately define who will succeed and who be the next Kodak, Nortel or Nokia phone.

Decoding Complexity – CIPHER

“In our first 4 years, I couldn’t have asked for more” says Nigel. Cipher has been adopted by world class companies such as BAE Systems, ARM and Nestlé. We are often asked why Cipher has been so warmly received. “We actively listened to what industry wanted and that became our roadmap. I estimate that half of the Cipher UI and features are a direct result of customer interaction” adds Steve.

So much more to come

We are committed to being the leading provider of IP business intelligence.

In all our main areas: competitive intelligence, risk mitigation, cost management and corporate reporting, there is more to be done. “It’s not a matter of working with IP data. It’s fighting with it. The patent system is over 400 years old, and is struggling to adapt” is Steve’s view from the outside. “The good news is that AI is well suited to challenges of this sort. There are already many routine tasks in Cipher that are performed better, faster and cheaper than the human alternative. That reality should be no more alarming than the first Casio calculator”.

Our mission is to make the world of innovation accessible. To everyone.

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