The fast-growing startup culture across the globe and a new disruptive innovation every other day only points to the fact that individuals, companies, entrepreneurs are innovating day in and day out. Not just in India, but across the globe.
While there are new innovations, there are also me-too innovations that come up every day. So in such a scenario, how does one know how novel their idea is? How can you be sure that someone in some corner of the world hasn’t already thought of it? Or that someone doesn’t steal your idea and claim it to be their own? That is why Intellectual Property (IP) rights and patents exist.
However, running searches for patents around your idea or innovation is a costly affair. After all there are about a 2.5 million patent documents getting filed every year across languages.
Komal Sharma Talwar, who was running her own Intellectual Property and technology consulting firm TT Consultants for the past 12 years, was very well aware of the problem.
“About three years ago I realised that there was a big problem that needed to be solved. Patents are a difficult affair. Patent searching requires a very specialised skill, which is not easy to do. For people experienced in patents, and those who can afford patent search, it’s okay. But we realised innovators, academicians globally who don’t have that kind of money and expertise lose out on a lot of R&D and IP,” Komal says.
So in 2015, Komal, along with Jitin Talwar and Sandeep Singh Kohli licensed in all the world’s patents and created a directory which has data of patents from over 100 countries, covering almost every patent ever filed for.
They then applied multiple layers of technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Natural Learning Processing and Blockchain to make the whole process of understanding patents much easier.
The platform, called Xlpat, is the world’s first completely automated commercialized novelty checker, which enables innovators to search all the world's patents in 2-3 minutes and see whether their idea is patentable and if they should file IP over the idea.
How it works:
Say you have an idea that could be converted into an innovation. The innovator can then go to the novelty checker on Xlpat and write down the idea along with a description of it and any research done on it. In the backend, an AI engine breaks down the idea into key features and then shows the innovator which domains the idea could be applied in or has been applied before.
A proprietary dictionary created by Xlpat, which contains more than 3 billion technology-related keywords, then shows you different variations in which the terms used in your idea could be used, asking you to pick what you may think is relevant.
Finally, when you ‘proceed to results’, every patent is and around your idea will show up, along with relevant paragraphs from the patent document.
The tool also shows you the bigger picture – companies working in that area, what work is being done in that space, any relevant research papers in the same domain, etc. It also auto-generates a report containing all the information of the patent search, making it visually easy to understand. The report will help you analyze your idea, maybe rethink it and improve it before patenting it.
According to Komal, the report, which manually takes a week to be made, is generated in 5-7 minutes by Xlpat.
What this patent search also does, according to Komal, is help improve the quality of innovations being developed.
With Japan being Xlpat’s biggest market, the startup, which is part of Hyderabad-based T-Hub’s flagship Lab 32 program, has a presence in over 30 countries with over 300 companies being paid customers. While it is the only such company in India, there are hardly 5-6 companies across the world working in this area.
The business model world on a licensing model where Xlpat charges per search, per company, per year. “We try and make cheaper for individual innovators, but are able to make enough money off bigger companies,” Komal adds.
Xlpat is also starting to work with universities and innovators, while exploring various models of commercialization. “We are looking at models such as assisting innovators in what to do once you have a patent, where would you go with it, etc. We're trying to automate as much of the patent process as possible so that it is in the hands of every innovator globally,” Komal says.
In India as well, Xlpat is working with IITs and the innovation labs being set up by the government by giving them free access to the software. This, she says, will help see more IP, and of higher quality, being generated from the country.
Having started licensing the platform a year and a half ago, Xlpat’s vision is to grow to millions of users. Its technology in in place. The goal is to now take it to as many customers as possible. Komal believes that there is demand for the product globally, making it highly scalable. At the same time, she wants to balance it between innovators who need it but can’t afford it and companies that can afford it.
The ultimate goal is to reach out to every innovator in every company in every country in the world, making Xlpat a global go-to platform for patenting.