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Legal technology companies are looking to streamline how attorneys and companies manage, file, and even translate patents by tapping into technologies like artificial intelligence and data visualization. At the core of many of these solutions is a robust search functionality—no small feat given the sheer volume and complexity of patents. But while there have been advancements in patent search, some still see it as a clunky, overly difficult endeavor, and an area ripe for change.

The startup Loci, for example, has launched patent search platform InnVenn in an attempt to simplify patent search processes and shorten the time needed to find relevant results. Here’s a look at how InnVenn tries to live up to these tasks.

What it is: InnVenn is a patent search platform that uses data visualization to improve the relevancy of searches and allows users to alert others on the platform of a patentable idea they are currently developing. InnVenn’s search function relies on a Venn diagram, made up of at most four overlapping different circles, each representing a unique search result.

John Wise, founder and CEO of Loci, told Legaltech News that when a user searches patents based on a specific set of keywords, such as “carbon fiber bicycle frames,” all the relevant patents show up as clickable dots within a circle. A user can then do a second search of “Kevlar bicycle frames,” which is presented as another circle with dots in the same manner. The circles are compared in a Venn diagram to see what results overlap; i.e. what results are relevant to both searches. Users can compare results of up to four searches at a time.

InnVenn users who use the search can also lay claim to a patentable idea in development by creating a proprietary search result that, while not a patent, alerts other users that such an idea is in development. Wise noted that in addition to naming the claim, users also “have to enter in some of their own [research] data and material” to support the claim, as well as link to any relevant prior art.

Communication Issues: For the time being, InnVenn does not allow users to directly communicate with each other through the platform. But Wise noted that such a feature is in development and scheduled to be released over the next three to six months that will allow users to connect with those who create claims, whether for collaboration or inquiry purposes.

Wise added that the messaging feature will be “similar to Craigslist” where one can email a source, but their identity and contact information is kept anonymized within the platform.

Eyeing the Blockchain: By the end of October, InnVenn is also planning to add its patents to a blockchain in a bid to capitalize on the technology’s security features. A patent added to the blockchain will include “a timestamp, a user ID number which is anonymized by Loci, and a location ID,” Wise said.

The location ID, he explained, will act like “a GPS coordinate of your house” and essentially place a patent close to other patents  that are determined to be similar “based on classification codes, and references that prior art,” he added.

Competition: InnVenn launched in a space already serviced by a host of legacy patent search and management platforms, such as those offered by CPA Global and LexisNexis. Wise said that these platforms were strong competitors “who are doing pretty good high level searching, quite complicated and granular searching, and analytics.”

But he added that in his opinion, these platforms are also quite “convoluted to use,” with complex interfaces and features that are only accessibly to “attorneys or expert level searchers.”

In contrast, InnVenn looks to differentiate through its ease of use, allowing “the layman” to more easily perform complex searches and shift through what can be up to “40,000 to 50,000 results per search,” Wise said.

 

Legal technology companies are looking to streamline how attorneys and companies manage, file, and even translate patents by tapping into technologies like artificial intelligence and data visualization. At the core of many of these solutions is a robust search functionality—no small feat given the sheer volume and complexity of patents. But while there have been advancements in patent search, some still see it as a clunky, overly difficult endeavor, and an area ripe for change.

The startup Loci, for example, has launched patent search platform InnVenn in an attempt to simplify patent search processes and shorten the time needed to find relevant results. Here’s a look at how InnVenn tries to live up to these tasks.

What it is: InnVenn is a patent search platform that uses data visualization to improve the relevancy of searches and allows users to alert others on the platform of a patentable idea they are currently developing. InnVenn’s search function relies on a Venn diagram, made up of at most four overlapping different circles, each representing a unique search result.

John Wise, founder and CEO of Loci, told Legaltech News that when a user searches patents based on a specific set of keywords, such as “carbon fiber bicycle frames,” all the relevant patents show up as clickable dots within a circle. A user can then do a second search of “Kevlar bicycle frames,” which is presented as another circle with dots in the same manner. The circles are compared in a Venn diagram to see what results overlap; i.e. what results are relevant to both searches. Users can compare results of up to four searches at a time.

InnVenn users who use the search can also lay claim to a patentable idea in development by creating a proprietary search result that, while not a patent, alerts other users that such an idea is in development. Wise noted that in addition to naming the claim, users also “have to enter in some of their own [research] data and material” to support the claim, as well as link to any relevant prior art.

Communication Issues: For the time being, InnVenn does not allow users to directly communicate with each other through the platform. But Wise noted that such a feature is in development and scheduled to be released over the next three to six months that will allow users to connect with those who create claims, whether for collaboration or inquiry purposes.

Wise added that the messaging feature will be “similar to Craigslist” where one can email a source, but their identity and contact information is kept anonymized within the platform.

Eyeing the Blockchain: By the end of October, InnVenn is also planning to add its patents to a blockchain in a bid to capitalize on the technology’s security features. A patent added to the blockchain will include “a timestamp, a user ID number which is anonymized by Loci, and a location ID,” Wise said.

The location ID, he explained, will act like “a GPS coordinate of your house” and essentially place a patent close to other patents  that are determined to be similar “based on classification codes, and references that prior art,” he added.

Competition: InnVenn launched in a space already serviced by a host of legacy patent search and management platforms, such as those offered by CPA Global and LexisNexis . Wise said that these platforms were strong competitors “who are doing pretty good high level searching, quite complicated and granular searching, and analytics.”

But he added that in his opinion, these platforms are also quite “convoluted to use,” with complex interfaces and features that are only accessibly to “attorneys or expert level searchers.”

In contrast, InnVenn looks to differentiate through its ease of use, allowing “the layman” to more easily perform complex searches and shift through what can be up to “40,000 to 50,000 results per search,” Wise said.