The majority of the posts on this blog are directed towards the sharing and development of best practices and examples as they relate to patent analytics for organizational insight and decision-making. Up to now, there have not been any product announcements or reviews, per se, included on the site. It has become clear recently, that several new tools and sites have either entered, or will soon be entering the patent analytics field, and it would be a service to the community to introduce these systems when they launch or when significant updates occur with existing tools and services.
In this vein, a new service called PatentHiveTM, that bills itself as a patent intelligence and analytics system, announced the signing of a Fortune 100TM customer and the launch of the beta version of their site. Patent Hive is focusing on corporate decision makers who are interested in licensing, mergers and acquisitions, patent litigation and valuation. From the front page of the site it is clear that the system is focused on the business of patents since the audience is directed toward institutional investors, patent strategy consultants, attorneys and individual investors. To meet the needs of these clients, the creators have accumulated patent data and linked it to financial and litigation data to supply a more comprehensive view of the business environment surrounding patent assets. From their press release the company describes this by saying:
Patent Hive’s offerings encompass patent analytics and business intelligence, including analysis of financial metrics, products, and legal information. The software-as-a-service solution employs unique algorithms, patent-pending technology, and a highly optimized proprietary database.
Providing a wide array of strategic information in the patent space, Patent Hive can produce value estimates and ranges for individual patents or entire portfolios, provide notice of upcoming maintenance fee deadlines to protect businesses from losing valuable IP, and offer detailed insights into portfolios, including a company’s most valuable inventors or sector strengths.
With the recent announcement of an Intellectual Property Exchange opening, and the increasing number of companies whose business model is centered around the monetization of patent assets it should not be surprising that systems are being developed to specifically tackle the task of valuing patents for sale and determining their potential licensing value. Patent Hive is structured based on the creation of individual reports that accomplish these tasks. Let’s look a little closer at the system by examining these sections.
Looking initially at the available reports, it can be seen that there is a focus on the monetization of patent assets, since there are specific sections on Financial Intel, Litigation and Patent Value. In each of these cases, a company name or list of patents, is supplied to the system, which returns a report on the activity associated with the queried item. Financial Intel for instance will provide the Market Cap, Firm Value, Cash Holdings, Forward PE and 43 other financial metrics associated with the organizations covered by the system. It also correlating the financial data with patent portfolio information for the company-at-issue. Understanding the finances of potential licensees or infringers is a key element when putting together a patent monetization strategy so having ready access to this information in the same system being used to evaluate an asset is critical.
The Free Quote or the Patent Value sections provide a high and low value associated with a single patent, in the case of the Free Quote, or a collection of patents, including a company’s entire portfolio, with the Patent Value report. The team at Patent Hive says that the valuation is based on an analysis of the claims, and the market associated with the technology covered by the patents, and is not simply a measure of the forward citations or the length of the independent claims. These methods are similar to what an analyst would typically do if they were trying to determine the value of a portfolio manually. The team also says that they understand that users don’t like “black box” solutions so they are working on ways to expose the underlying assumptions that go into the valuations as much as possible and share these with the users.
The newest report added to Patent Hive is called Visual Search and is described by the development team as, “a means of searching for patents or reviewing prior art allowing the user to receive side-by-side text results and graphical data on the search term. Charts based on the search term provide insight into related patents issued over time, top businesses holding related patents, top inventors, and a breakdown of classes represented among other items.”
In addition to reports on individual companies, patents or portfolios, Patent Hive also provides aggregate data for larger collections of data. The final four report categories, Timeline Rankings, Stats, Litigation and Analytics take this approach by allowing the user to explorer larger questions across the entire collection. For instance, under Litigation a report can be run on the most frequently litigated patents over the past ten years. In the screenshot below we see that US6,201,839 has been litigated most frequently with 22 cases listed on the system.
In a similar fashion, the Stats report allows the user to generate annual reports of general, or class-specific patent data for specified countries of interest. This type of information can be useful when making decisions about where to seek coverage and how patenting systems in different countries are compared to one another.
Patent Hive works differently than most systems since it is report driven and once each query is completed the user is asked to confirm their email address and a report is sent by email. With some of the reports, what is sent via email is the exactly the same as what can be seen on the website. In other cases, the email refers the user back to the site to see the results. This takes some getting used to since it requires a good deal of back and forth between the browser and the user’s in-box. A number of the reports require server-side processing, which can take a few minutes, so to a degree this approach makes sense but it is still quite different from most other systems that, while not real-time per se, still don’t require the back and forth. The tool can be accessed by subscription or via individual transaction where each report is charged for at the time of ordering. The transactional model can be useful for the infrequent user but making individual buying decisions at the generation of each report could disincentive regular use.
Patent Hive is currently looking for beta testers and interested users can request access to the tool by registering for an account. The registration process generates an email from the administrators asking the user to provide some information about how they intend to use the system. Having requested each report on the system, I can confirm that it is, indeed, a beta product, and that a number of the reports generated incorrect or misformatted data. This is to be expected and the Patent Hive team is quite clear that this is early days and that they are working very closely with their initial users to correct the issues and make improvements to the system.
While not perfect, the ideas and principles behind Patent Hive are very interesting and potentially powerful since the approach is specific to the workflow of patent strategists and monetization professionals. A number of the ideas behind the data needed and the types of reports available have clearly been driven by the experience of the CEO of Patent Hive, Dr. Alon Konchitsky. Dr. Konchitsky has nearly 30 US patents to his credit and has worked in the due diligence, patent valuation and patent litigation fields before founding Patent Hive. Understanding the workflows associated with a user community is a critical component when developing analytic tools and Patent Hive looks to be on the right track.