Case Study | Keltie
28th September 2018 |
Leading Intellectual Property Attorneys specialising in IP law and management
Keltie is a leading intellectual property firm, based in the UK and Ireland. Cipher is used across Keltie to support business development, carry out technology landscaping and to help investors assess and commercialise IP.
Dev Crease, Partner, and Keith Turner, Director of Business Development, share their experiences.
What are the benefits of using Cipher?
Cipher’s speed is important because we are often working to tight deadlines. In a world of 100 million patents, we have evolved our approach to FTO questions and understand that in some situations, a fast, general response is better than either no answer or a very slow and expensive one.
Cipher also has the capability to offer credible technology landscapes at a much lower price point, which provides a sensible economic basis for establishing a relationship with interesting companies very early on. Cipher gives us the opportunity to add a huge amount of value to these early stage companies without asking them to burn through their precious resources – it’s a big selling point for us.
How does Cipher help your clients?
Keltie has used Cipher in a number of different ways:
Cipher has provided the capability to offer a lower cost solution to the question, “who’s doing what?”, in situations that would have previously been prohibitively expensive for our attorneys to answer. Cipher’s capability to produce technology landscapes makes a valuable contribution to the many areas populated with thousands of patents.
In a recent cellulose based materials project, we were considering a broad range of uses and markets. Cipher provided the speed and versatility to first focus on water purification, and then study applications in textiles, mining and all sorts of other areas. For early stage companies, this is really useful.
We were supporting a skincare client who was investing R&D in a new product – except it wasn’t a new product at all. Cipher helped us identify that the same approach had been tried and failed in the 1990s, well outside the memory of the team working in the project. Just another example of how using patents as a library of scientific literature can really pay dividends. Cipher helped avoid reinvention of a square wheel.
Start-ups and investors
It is important for companies to engage with intellectual property early on, not least when raising equity. Investors need well organised information and Cipher’s ability to produce business-centric visualisations has been very useful in this context.
How is Cipher used for business development?
An essential part of Business Development is building knowledge of our clients’ business and Cipher plays an important role in that process. We can understand what companies are doing and who’s engaged in similar areas. We can analyse the litigation landscape. We can quickly provide an overview of any company’s patent portfolio and Cipher organises the data in a way that would take a prohibitive amount of time to do manually.
In a recent engagement, we were able to establish whether a potential research partner had useful patents and how litigious they were. In other mandates, we have been able to identify key areas in which licensing partners are active.
What’s Cipher advantage over how you approached things before?
One client in the field of clean-burning fossil fuel technologies was exploring its use with other fuels to enhance performance. We started the project with conventional search software and it returned 5,000 hits – a really congested field. We manually reduced this cohort down to 2,000, then 1,000 then 500 and eventually the top 20.
To get another view we uploaded this data into Cipher and instantly generated an entirely different view. Specifically, it identified a cluster of patents owned by a Chinese University which was completely overlooked by our conventional key word driven approach. I’m not sure we would have identified this activity in any other way.
An important lesson from this project is that it pays to triangulate results – and the importance of an expert to make sense of the analysis!
Do you see Cipher as a threat to the patent profession?
Not at all. Cipher doesn’t solve problems, that’s the role of humans. It simply analyses information that would be prohibitively slow or expensive or boring for a highly skilled professional to do. By putting the analysis at our fingertips, we can offer a wider range of services to a broader client base. Analytics such as Cipher are also helping communicate the importance of IP to the wider business and investor community. That can only be a good thing.
Cipher’s a good product. It’s taken us a while to figure out how to use it in the best way for our business, and we are glad we did!