IP Checkups was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2004 by Matthew and Irving Rappaport.
The company stems from an earlier startup Co-founded by Irving in the early 1990’s. At that time, patents were first being converted from paper to electronic format. Irving and his business partner, Kevin Rivette co-founded SmartPatents in 1991 to assist patent attorney’s to more easily review and markup patents in electronic format.
Paper Patents and the Early Days
Prior to patents being available in electronic format there was no easy way to analyze competitors’ patents except through traditional intelligence and sleuthing techniques. US patent information only existed in paper format housed at the US Patent and Trademark office in Washington, D.C. Patent copies could be ordered by mail but the shear number of documents and associated copying and postage fees made it difficult to access the information in bulk. In addition, worldwide patent data from the WO, EP and JP patent offices was practically inaccessible to US companies.
Even for large companies that could afford the expense, there was no easy way to sort, organize and manage all of that paper. Today, it is difficult to imagine taking a pile of 1000 paper patents at an average of 40 pages each and trying to categorize them into multiple categories, the process would take a tremendous amount of time and money and would be nearly impossible to manage on a forward looking basis.
Electronic Patents – An Information Revolution
Irving and others realized that the availability the entire US patent corpus in electronic format would revolutionize the field of intellectual property management in significant ways. In 1996, SmartPatents became Aurigin Systems, Inc. which developed Aureka®, a robust and powerful workbench for analyzing patents in their competitive landscapes. Aureka is a web-based tool used to search, analyze and manage electronic patent information from worldwide patent offices. The Aureka software enabled companies to quickly and affordably answer questions related to who is filing, what they are filing on and how a particular field is emerging.
Large Fortune 500 companies such as General electric, Procter and Gamble, and Johnson and Johnson were the early adopters that embraced patent analytic software tools and have been critical participants to the development of the field of patent analytics. These industry leaders have not surprisingly managed to stay at the top of their fields, due in-part to the intelligent leveraging and management of competitive patent information.
Although these early patent analytic tools are very powerful they also require significant time and knowledge to master and are generally directed to patent experts. All but a handful of power-users have developed expertise to gain maximum advantage from patent analytic tools and understand how to deftly manipulate, manage, analyze and strategically leverage the data and information that is revealed through patent analysis for business purposes.
IP Checkups is Established
IP Checkups opened its doors in 2004 to assist companies to extract maximum value from patent analytics, to increase organizational knowledge and efficiency, and to help strengthen companies’ return on technology investment. IP Checkups’ process encourages the cooperation of legal departments, engineers and scientists, business development teams, marketing and sales and product managers to consider business development objectives such as technology and product development or licensing or acquisition strategies from multiple perspectives. Through mastering available patent analytic, text analytic and competitive intelligence tools combined with a collaborative, hands-on approach to patent portfolio management, IP Checkups analyzes competitive patent information and provides solutions for companies to identify, build and value defensible patent portfolios that are aligned with strategic business development goals.
Through offering custom, one-off services to corporations, investors and start-ups, IP Checkups began to realize that specialized patent analysis tools were not addressing the needs outside of a handful of users within large organizations – those without deep patent expertise. This is due to a number of reasons including the often misguided assumption that competitive patent information is being managed internally by the lawyers and in-house IP departments and the fact that most non-patent experts are unaware of the rich, market based data that can be extracted from competitive patent information. Current patent analytic tools have not been developed with the R&D, Business development, marketing, sales and product managers in mind. For these groups, simply understanding who is working in a space and what they are working on is essential to develop new products or new features on existing products, to identify and negotiate licensing or M&A deals, and to understand where markets are heading, who is dominating those markets and how competitors are allocating resources to their internal projects.
PatentCAM™ – Simple, Web-Based Patent Monitoring and Management
In 2006, Matthew conceived PatentCAM, a simple, collaborative and affordable web-based software tool that enables users to easily identify, analyze, manage, update, and monitor industry trends, companies and inventors vying in their markets, and the technologies competitors are developing. PatentCAM targets non-patent experts – namely, R&D, business development, marketing/sales and product managers by combining IP Checkups expert patent searching with an easy to use, customizable web-based patent monitoring tool. By looking closely at publicly available competitive patent information (from the US, EP, WO, and JP patent databases), non-patent experts can glean critical information into the who, what, when and where of technology and product development.
The PatentCAM™ Process
IP Checkups expert searchers work with companies’ in house domain experts to develop search strings that are relevant to your companies’ technology and products. The search results are then loaded into PatentCAM and can be made available company wide. The search strings are run on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis to help companies stay up to date on new developments in the competitive landscape.
PatentCAM includes flexible features that enable users to create custom folders, trash irrelevant patents, share information, create on the fly analytics, and set and control administrative access that can be customized for nearly any circumstance. It is a one stop information hub for your organization to monitor relevant competitive patent information on an ongoing basis.
IP Checkups’ patent search and domain experts developed the CleanTech PatentEdge solution. The database contains more than 1.2 million patents from worldwide patent offices filtered into more than 150 cleantech and renewable energy market categories from the 4 major worldwide patent office (US, EP, WO, JP). IP Checkups expert searchers developed search strings that are run across world wide data on a frequent basis to update the Cleantech PatentEdge database so subscribers can easily and affordably understand, identify, analyze and monitor which companies are in the cleantech market and on which technologies and innovations they are focusing.
The rich data enables CleanTech PatentEdge to offer database subscriptions, diligence reports and market trends and customized solutions tailored to your company’s needs.
Most recently, IP Checkups’ patent search and domain experts developed the Advanced Battery & Capacitors (ABC) PatentEdge solution, which focuses specifically on the advanced battery and capacitor industries. The database contains more than 200,000 patents from the 3 major worldwide patent offices (US, EP, WO), filtered into more than 200 battery market categories.