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About Us

Unleashing the strategic value of patents

Cipher’s mission is to enable patent owners to make rational decisions by providing strategic patent intelligence, powered by machine learning.

We are part of the community that promotes the importance of patents as strategic assets that deliver value to an organisation.  We provide Solutions to the strategic challenges facing patent owners.

Our Story

Cipher was founded by Nigel Swycher (CEO) and Steve Harris (CTO) in 2013 to harness the latest developments in AI and machine learning to automate recognised inefficiencies in the aggregation, analysis and visualisation of data relating to the ownership and use of patents.

Initially, Cipher was focused on analysing and comparing patent owning companies. In 2017 we invented Cipher Classifiers, a new and improved way to map patents to technologies using supervised machine learning.

This breakthrough made it possible to establish objective and repeatable ways to communicate both the risk and value associated with patents to IP leaders, the board and the investor community more broadly.

Cipher is recognised as the leading provider of strategic patent intelligence to major patent owning organisations.

On 31 March 2023, Cipher became part of LexisNexis Intellectual Property.

Where it started

Why Cipher

Trained by humans, built by machine to give you independently verified accuracy

“Cipher’s classifiers enable you to understand the patent landscape or analyze a portfolio. Combining expertise in both IP and data science, Cipher provides you with solutions to the strategic problems patent owners face, with quick and accurate results.” Erik Oliver, Richardson Oliver Insights

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Leadership Team

Nigel Swycher podcast host Cipher Vision

Nigel Swycher – CEO

Nigel is CEO and co-founder of Cipher. Nigel’s background is as an IP lawyer, having been a partner at Slaughter and May, London for 20 years.  Throughout his career Nigel has focused on the creation, defence and exploitation of IP assets, and helping companies, their advisers and investors understand the importance of intangible assets. Nigel is a director of ORoPO (the Open Register of Patent Ownership) and is a recognised as an expert by the IAM Strategy 300.

Steve Harris – CTO

Steve is the co-founder and responsible for the design and implementation of Cipher. Previously he was CTO of a UK-based FinTech startup, Garlik, until its sale to Experian in 2011. Steve was a researcher at the University of Southampton, specialising in Artificial Intelligence, Information Extraction, and Graph Databases. Steve advises the UK Government and European Commission.  In 2020 Steve was recognised as an expert by the IAM Strategy 300.

Stewart Hogg – CRO

Stewart leads the Commercial arm of Cipher, managing the Sales, Customer success and Marketing teams, responsible for delivering revenue.  He has run commercial teams, previously as Head of Sales and Marketing at Maplecroft for 4 years.  Prior to that he was at Wood Mackenzie for 12 years, where he held sales leadership positions in Europe and US, launching the sales effort in New York around Institutional Investors.  He started his career at Jobsite.

Francesca Levoir

Francesca Levoir
Head of Marketing

Francesca is responsible for building awareness of the Cipher brand and lead generation. She worked at Wood Mackenzie for 16 years in Marketing, building teams in Asia and Europe; focusing on building brands in new markets, product launches,  acquisitions and developing new business leads for sales.  Her Marketing career started at Procter & Gamble.

Cipher as part of the Community

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Cipher is a founding member of the Open Register of Patent Ownership (ORoPO), which is committed to improving the data quality around patent ownership.

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PAE risk

Cipher is a member of LOT Network as we believe that patents should encourage innovation and not litigation. Read our report on the LOT Network portfolio.

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Cipher supports academic programmes to expand understanding of intellectual property including CIP at Gothenburg and Berkeley Universities and Skoltech.

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Mitigating Patent Risk

We work with organisations such as AST and OIN to promote patents as strategic assets, by promoting the message through a number of channels.

Contact Us

Find out more about opportunities at Cipher or contact us to find out more about Cipher


Details about working at Cipher and the current roles we have available. We are currently seeking two Solutions Analysts.
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Contact us

Arrange a callback with one of our experts to discuss how Cipher can assist with your patent portfolio.
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Recent highlights

From reports to case studies to podcasts, we’re regularly offering industry insights and providing quality content for IP and patent professionals.

Europe’s Chemicals Industry: The Benefits and Risks Posed by the UPC

Examining the patent landscape of the chemicals industry in Europe following the establishment of the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
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LOT Network BRIDGE Members Meeting 2023

We attended BRIDGE, LOT Network’s annual members meeting on Wednesday 27th September.
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SDGs through a patent lens

Episode 7 in Season 3 features Marco Richter, Global Head of Customer Success at LexisNexis Intellectual Property. He highlights the important role that patents play in helping us to become more sustainable, discussing the benefit of measuring innovation in relation to the UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs).
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Key Patent Innovations and the BlackBerry portfolio

Following its acquisition by Key Patent Innovations, we revisited our analysis of the BlackBerry patent portfolio, identifying the areas at risk.
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How innovation affects revenue for Big Tech

Big Tech firms thrive on innovation, and patents play a crucial role. Our analysis tracks the activity of Apple, Google, Microsoft and others over the last 20 years.
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Content-Generating AI

OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot has been a sensation since its launch. Our report looks at published patents across Content Generative AI to identify key innovators and invention owners in this space.
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With Cipher you can…

Portfolio Optimisation connecting cogs

Optimise your portfolio

Ensure you have the right portfolio to meet your strategic patenting objectives.

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Competitive Intelligence

Gather competitor intelligence

Understand who’s doing what by automating patent to technology mapping.

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Cross Licensing

Model cross licensing

Combine patent and revenue data to determine rational licensing outcomes.

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Manage your budget

Justify patent budgets and communicate the impact of your investment.

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Conduct due diligence

Automate manual reviews for efficient execution of M&A and licensing transactions.

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Tackle inbound patent assertion

Be prepared with evidence to create a fast and effective threat assessment.

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Benchmark your portfolio

Assess your portfolio in comparison to other owners through your technology lens.

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Monetise your portfolio

Identify opportunities to create value through licensing or sale of patent assets.

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Predict technology trends

Track new technologies and discover the unknown owners of future innovation.

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Create Risk Mitigation Strategies

Understand the materiality of your threats to define your risk mitigation strategy.

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Cipher Vision Podcast

Cipher’s monthly podcast, Cipher Vision is now into its third season.  Each episode has co-hosts Nigel Swycher (CEO) and Francesca Levoir (Head of Marketing) and a notable guest discuss an IP or patents-related topic.

Guests have covered a range of subjects, from valuation and sustainability through to diversity and machine learning.

Cipher Vision episodes are under 25 minutes and are ideal to listen to during a short break or journey.

Cipher Vision podcast index

SDGs through a patent lens

Episode 7 in Season 3 features Marco Richter, Global Head of Customer Success at LexisNexis Intellectual Property. He highlights the important role that patents play in helping us to become more sustainable, discussing the benefit of measuring innovation in relation to the UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs).
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Flat, Fast and Focused

Episode 6 in Season 3 features Lorie Goins who shares with us how to approach innovation, by adopting a questioning, inclusive and analytical mindset, drawing on tools to form evidence-based decisions that enhance your business and IP strategy.
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Promoting SEPs Transparency

Episode 5 in the Cipher Vision Podcast series features Tim Pohlmann, CEO, LexisNexis IPlytics. He joins us to discuss the world of SEPs, from areas of conflict to new opportunities.
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Protecting Innovation with Director Vidal

Episode 4 in Season 3 features Director Kathi Vidal of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, who shares her thoughts on how we can improve the innovation ecosystem.
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The Patent Market

Episode 3 in Season 3 features Kent Richardson, CEO, Richardson Oliver insights joined us to share the inside scoop on the patent market, from who is buying and selling and the price, to what the future holds.
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At War With Cybersecurity

Episode 2 in Season 3 features Jared Engstrom, Senior Director, IP Strategy at CrowdStrike joined us to discuss how pivotal patents are to a strategic security strategy.
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Insights and Case Studies

Intellectual Property Strategy

Having an Intellectual Property strategy is key for all growing organisations today
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Red Hat on using the Cipher Optimisation Model

Jared Engstrom, Head of Patent Development, talks about the growth in Red Hat’s portfolio, how he has used Cipher’s custom classifiers and how the Cipher Optimisation model has improved their understanding of the competitive landscape.
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IAM 300

Steve Harris joins Nigel Swycher as part of the IAM 300 IP Strategists.
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Improve your patent strategy now

Speak to the Cipher team today.

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