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Death of Patent Tools...likely

by: Tom Hochstatter, President

People, Process, and Technology are Inseparable in Quality Patent Research

I have been a “technologist” since 1987 when I first got involved with computers out of college. I went to work for Boeing’s Commercial Airplane division in a finance role. I counted beans…but for the first time, and thankfully, on a brand-new HP 150 computer. It had a whooping 9” monochrome screen (but a touch screen no less), dual – floppy disk drives, 256K RAM and a ridiculously small hard drive. It had Lotus 1-2-3 as the spreadsheet application and it made my job a breeze. I still use those keyboard shortcuts today when “spreadsheeting”…I fell in love with technology then and there and haven’t looked back.

I was fortunate to be in Seattle at this time and Microsoft had recently blasted onto the scene and I was drawn to Redmond where I joined in 1989. A bunch of stops at F500s – IBM, Yahoo, and a handful of start-ups (successes and failures) later I always stayed close to technology and specifically how it could help people get done what was either previously impossible, or was tedious and was a waste of high value human resource talent.

Fast forward to today, I am part of a team at Techson IP building a next-generation patent search platform with all the big acronyms and buzzwords (unironically) associated with it: AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, Analytics, Infographics etc. We are cautiously optimistic that after a collective several decades of searching experience (pun intended), we have settled on a solution which we are developing and will deliver in the Fall. It attacks “holy grail” patent research problems in a creative way, and in seconds.  The results it has been clocking used to take skilled researchers days to complete, if at all.  It is bringing a level of consistency to patent research that has been hard to achieve from searcher to searcher.

Who cares?

Well, Techson. We are after all a practicing patent research and advisory firm, and we couldn’t find any tools individually or in a collective, off-the-shelf to satisfy our researchers’ daily needs. There is a dearth of IP data providers and an even bigger pile of “patent analytics” tools the world over, but still our team was languishing with brute force processes and more Excel spreadsheets than I can count to deliver on-time, quality reports to our research clients.

So we went out and raised a bunch of money to create the right platform to deliver lightning fast IP solutions, that are higher quality than previous and simpler to use.

Worst Part

I have been with Techson a short time and I have been meeting with dozens of prospective customers – both Law Firms and Corporations. In 100% of the cases (thus far) they have all told me they are somewhat unsatisfied or completely unsatisfied with not only their patent search tools but the search providers too.

In one case a lawyer from a top global law firm stated: “I ordered a patent research project for tens of thousands of dollars, and what I got back was “complete S&*%”, and I had to redo the research and the report using tools I didn’t like and time I didn’t have.” I would be mortified to know that any ONE of my customers over the last 30 years said (out loud) or even thought that I, or my company, delivered “complete S&*%”. I would quit that firm immediately!

Help On the Way

Techson strives to never, ever be that firm, and the technology we are building is being used by all of our professional researchers, many with 10+ years of research experience.  We can prove:

a)     It takes them hours or days less time to deliver projects,

b)    Their results are higher quality and more consistent than before. We know this because we are testing our tech platform on previous projects while also using on new projects, and we can see new information, insights, and efficiencies.

c)     Our clients LOVE our results, and they have told us to our faces and have volunteered to tell it to your faces too – just ask for those references. It would be our pleasure to share.

Since we began creating this platform, we’ve baked one key assumption into our logic: our platform is not going to be the alpha and omega of patent research for anyone. But we will deliver a simply, useful solution that solves real problems in real time. It's time to get back to the love of technology.


Tom HochstatterComment