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  • How do I access Cipher?

    Click the button ‘Launch Cipher’ in the top-right corner of this website or alternatively via

  • I forgot my login details.

    You can reset your password via

  • I’ve logged in, but I want to change my password.

    You can change your password by clicking the icon for ‘User profile’ in the header bar > Change password. Or via

  • Which browsers support Cipher?

    Cipher is supported on Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 10/11/Edge, Firefox and also iPad.

  • What types of reports are there in Cipher?

    From the homepage, you have the following five choices for report type; General, Executive Summary, Acquisition, Technology Landscape, Litigation. More detail on each is provided in the accompanying Help pages (accessible by clicking the ? icon in the top right of the Cipher screen).

  • How do I create a Cipher report?

    There are three options as your entry point for creating a Cipher report:

    • Search for an organisation
    • Upload a list of patents (PLUS option to pre-specifiy technology clusters)
    • Create a search query using a combination of keywords and data specifications e.g. IPC codes
  • I created a report. How do I share it and enable others to edit?

    You can share a report with other Cipher users to edit by copying the URL link directly from the address bar in your browser and sharing it with intended recipients.

  • How do I share a report I created with others to view?

    Simply click ‘Share’ in the top-right of your screen. You will then have the choice to include ‘All organisations’ or just your search or uploaded portfolio. The unique link to your report will expire after 30 days. NOTE: You can share a report with anyone (no Cipher login required for access).

  • Where do I find my saved reports?

    Once logged in, click the second icon along in the header bar for ‘Saved reports’.

  • Can I save a report to return to later?

    Yes. Click ‘Save’ in the top-right of your screen. You can organise your saved reports in folders.

  • How does Cipher identify comparable portfolios?
    • Cipher considers both the degree of overlap in technologies between the portfolios, and also the overall size of the portfolios, in order to find organisations that can be most usefully compared to the reference organisation
    • Similarity is based on citation graphs and a similarity matrix i.e. asking how similar the reference company’s patents are to other patents and ultimately other organisations
    • Cipher creates two similarity lists in your report: “Similar size” and “Largest”. “Similar size” are organisations of roughly similar size with overlapping portfolios and “Largest” are the organisations with the highest number of overlapping patents regardless of size
  • Can I change the list of organisations I want to analyse in my report?

    Yes. When you create either a General, Executive Summary, Acquisition or Litigation report (either by searching for an organisation or uploading a list of patents) Cipher’s default is to include the 7x most comparable portfolios for you to compare your seed portfolio with. To edit this list, click ‘Edit’ below ‘Organisations’ in the left sidebar.

  • How does Cipher match / group all the patents to a portfolio (e.g. an organisation)?

    When you search for an organisation in Cipher, results are grouped to show all patents assigned to all entities including:

    • Subsidiaries
    • Acquired companies
    • Merged companies
    • Companies corrected for erroneous entries in the patent registry

    Cipher relies on proprietary software (correcting mistakes), software tools (suggesting similarly named companies for a human to then decide) outsourced manual checking, in-house manual checking and corporate organisation data to group organisations and entities, providing users with the best possible view of what patent assets an organisation owns.

    In addition, Cipher also tracks pure patent transactions (companies buying or selling patents) via the USPTO.

  • What is a patent family? And how is the status chosen?

    Patent Families are a single invention, that is protected in a number of different countries. They all have a common date that the invention is protected from (the “priority date”). Each family is made up of a number of applications and grants from each of the countries that make up the family.

    To account for the fact that a family consists of multiple patent rights in multiple geographies the patent family status is derived as follows:

    • If the family includes a member in a major geography (US, EPO, Germany, UK, Japan, South Korea), it will be considered granted when the first patent in any major geography grants.
    • If the family does not include a member in a major geography, it will be considered granted when the first patent in any geography is granted.
  • What is Cipher’s definition for a status?

    Pending – Patent family is actively being prosecuted, but is not yet granted (is still an application).

    Granted – Patent family is granted and in force (i.e. renewal fees have been paid).

    Rejected – Patent applications that have been successfully opposed, rejected by the relevant patent office, or are more than 20 years since their priority date, so could not proceed to grant.

    Expired – Patent families which were granted, but have now expired either due to age (the maximum life of a patent is 20 years, with few exceptions). Or non-payment of renewal fees.

    Inactive – Patent family has not yet granted, and has seen no activity on any of the regional or national applications for over four years.

  • What is a ‘priority date’?

    Priority date is the date the first patent application in the patent family was filed.

  • How does Cipher calculate cost?

    Cipher estimates all the associated costs of obtaining and maintaining each patent, such as translation fees, foreign counsel feeds, and chosen filing route. This estimate is calculated based from comprehensive cost data supplied by 80+ patent attorney firms.

  • What is a NPE?

    NPE stands for Non-Practising Entity: a patent-holding organisation that does not manufacture or produce goods. The following can be applicable under this definition:

    • Company
    • Individual
    • Law Firm
    • University
    • Government
    • Research Organization
    • Consortium

    Cipher will tag instances of litigation instigated by an NPE which can refer to any of the above, including ‘patent trolls’. Data related to NPE activity is provided by RPX. More information on the risk posed by patent troll NPEs can be found here.

  • What litigation is shown in a Cipher report?

    Cipher reports capture events where patents have been litigated in the following US courts:

    • CAFC – United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • District Court
    • Supreme Court

    This comprehensive database is supplied by MaxVal: it covers patent litigations filed since 1980, including over 71,000 cases.