There are about 20 million patents in the world, issued by 200 independent and regional patent offices. Key information about the world’s patents — including reliable information about who owns them — isn’t available in a single database that anyone can easily access.
An asset class is not going to develop if potential licensors, lenders, investors and others who may want to transact cannot easily determine who owns the asset. Patents by definition are public documents: that’s the point of a patent disclosure. As an owner, you undoubtedly spent significant resources to obtain and maintain the patent. Why wouldn’t you want the world to be able to determine who owns the patent?
Having ready access to a single, accurate patent database will benefit the entire patent ecosystem. Patent owners in particular will have increased access to commercialization and monetization opportunities as third-party capital, service providers, commercialization partners and others will be able to connect for new opportunities.
As an owner, do you think it is more or less likely that you will be able to develop, sell, or license your patents if people know you are the owner? Basic and accurate patent ownership information is the critical first step for improving patent-related transaction rates.
For many historical reasons, patent ownership isn’t easy to establish. Even the patent offices that require identification of patent owners (not all of them do) have an ownership error rate as high as 30%. Company names are misspelled, the owner is shown as some random subsidiary of a larger company, the records are horribly out of date (patents may have been sold several times without the record being updated), and some owners try to hide their identities.
The Global Patent Registry is a blockchain-enabled database that now includes owner information we’ve obtained from various public sources and that we’re in the process of normalizing and confirming. In 2018, we’ll be working with patent owners to encourage owner verification that will take the ownership mystery out of the patent market.
If you want more technical information on the IPwe public/private blockchain-enabled Global Patent Registry, you can get it here.
If you’re a patent owner and want to make sure your patents are on the Global Patent Registry, you can contact us here.