Advice and Answers from the IPwe Team

Prior to IPwe, the IP process was not technologically enabled and involved an incredible amount of human activity as it was highly inefficient and completely lacked transparency. IPwe combined the complexity of IP with the intelligence of AI and Blockchain, bringing better information and more transparency to the patent ecosystem.

Our team of IP experts has provided the following materials and answers to help you better understand the future patent ecosystem that IPwe Platform has unlocked through our various product and service offerings.


Smart Pool Infographic

IPwe’s Smart Pools are an intelligent program that delivers the benefit of technology patents to innovators, led by Erich Spangenberg that want to maximize business opportunities and generate an ROI.    

Download PDF
IPwe X SkanSense Success Story

In comparison to the typical year-long setup process that traditional patent pools entail, IPwe launched the LiDAR Smart Pool with SkanSense in less than 2 weeks after meeting with SkanSense Founder.

Download PDF
ESG Smart Pool Infographic

The ESG Smart Pool is meant to allow inventive leaders to share their technology with other members via a Smart ‘Patent Pool,’ allowing SMEs to build on it using the IP Platform.

Download PDF
LiDAR Smart Pool Infographic

The LiDAR Smart Pool is simple: the Founders, leaders in the space such as SkanSENSE, contribute licensing rights to selected patents, and Members join and are free to use these LiDAR innovations.

Download PDF
Metaverse Smart Pool Infographic

The Metaverse Smart Pool is designed to permit innovative leaders, such as Open Meta Foundation and SDK, in relevant technology to make their metaverse patents available to other participants in the ecosystem.

Download PDF
Blockchain Smart Pool Infographic

The Blockchain Smart Pool is designed to permit innovative leaders, like nChain, in blockchain technology to share their more than 1,250 Blockchain patents to SMEs, SMBs and start-ups with already 125 members.

Download PDF

6 of 10 guides

Frequently Asked Questions

About IPwe

What is IPwe?

IPwe is a Platform for the World’s IP ecosystem that enables blockchain IP transactions to allow patent owners and investors to grow revenue and mitigate IP risk with simple, clear-cut, and actionable answers that will increase assets’ overall value. IPwe’s technology is enhanced through our leaders’ extensive experience in the IP space, allowing us to consciously and confidently guide you through all your IP-related business decisions.

What is the IPwe Platform?

The IPwe Platform connects the world of IP on a single platform that enables traditional transactions (licensing and acquisitions) while centralizing patent-related services and solutions. Our platform helps you understand and evaluate your complex IP assets and IP-related risk from a financial point of view.

Who is driving IPwe strategically?

Erich Spangenberg, IPwe’s CEO, who has completed over 1,500 licensing transactions, acquired thousands of patents, and completed over $2 billion of licensing, acquisitions, and financing transactions. Erich is well-known in the global IP market and a luminary in the space. He is regularly recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential People in the global IP space.

What is IPwe's mission?

IPwe transforms the patent ecosystem by combining information and tools to identify, research, understand and transact in patents. IPwe uses exponential and disruptive technologies to simplify, automate, and dramatically lower the costs of patent ownership.

What sets IPwe apart?

IPwe’s Platform removes the complexity and costs found in analytics solutions. Instead of using a patent attorney, the platform aids business leaders in monetizing IP and mitigating IP-related risks efficiently. The platform provides IP-related business decisions running on secure IBM Cloud and Blockchain services such as the Casper Network.

Is IPwe an IP or fintech platform?

Both. By design and plan, the IPwe Platform is evolving from an IP information platform to an IP fintech platform. As we have seen over and over, simply making something ‘tradeable’ or creating an exchange does not lead to a significant market—it takes more—a lot more.

Are exponential technologies the right approach for IPwe?

IPwe has been using predictive analytics since 2007 and it is only getting better, particularly over the last three years. The same is true of our platform operations – using blockchain and AI – and delivering best in-class technology reports or monitoring the administrative aspects of Smart Pools. In a few years, the IP space will not remember how IP transactions were done ‘before’.

How can I determine the best IPwe product for my company?

By scheduling a demo through, we can determine the best route to unlock the full potential of your intellectual property assets.

What is IPwe’s relationship with IBM?

In early 2019, IBM invited IPwe to join its accelerated program. Since then, IBM and IPwe have worked together applying IBM’s deep expertise in blockchain and AI to the IPwe Platform to help protect ownership information; generate patent and portfolio analytics; facilitate transactions; reporting and advancements of the next intelligent generation of patent pooling – an agreement among multiple patent holders to jointly license their IP.

Was IPwe’s Platform built by IBM?

Yes, IBM has been instrumental in the technology IPwe built and is still evolving.

What is IBM's role in the NFT marketplace, apart from helping IPwe build the blockchain platform?

IBM has been working with IPwe since 2019. IPwe was part of the first ever 2019 IBM Blockchain Ventures Accelerator Program. Since then, IBM has aided IPwe in business and strategy decisions, systems integrations, cloud solutions, technology development, security, transaction operations while being the IPwe Platform and infrastructure provider.

Smart Pools

What is a Smart Pool?

A Smart Pool is a group of key innovation leaders (“Founders”) who collectively offer a group of their patents relating to leading and emerging technologies for license to other companies that use that technology (“Members”).

How are IPwe Smart Pools structured?

IPwe’s Smart Pool Program facilitates thousands of consensual licenses, unburdened by the inefficiency of litigation. IPwe created Smart Pools in different technological areas that are very early in the adoption cycle, where there has not been a significant amount of licensing activity. There are two groups that make up the participants of the Pool: Founders and Members. Each Founder commits their patent portfolio in a specific technological area, while each Member has the opportunity to take licenses to Founders’ patents committed to the pool at a fraction of the cost that they would otherwise normally have to pay to get access to these patents.

What is the Smart Pool Program’s Objectives?
  1. Promote innovation and adoption for the benefit of Founding Members, Members, industry and society;
  2. Promote additional global investment in innovation;
  3. Leverage the benefits of exponential technologies to promote innovation by increasing transparency and lowering transaction costs;
  4. Offer significant value to the Founding Members and Members beyond the licensing of Patents;
  5. Promote micro and small business initiatives and growth by leveling the playing field to allow them to leverage the same patented technology as larger entities;
  6. Promote enhanced quality of innovation through the access, building, contribution and development of prior art libraries relevant to the blockchain industry;
  7. Promote Founding Members leadership for implementing intelligent and industry-best approaches to innovation.
Is a Smart Pool an exclusive or non-exclusive pool?

Smart Pools are a non-exclusive pool. IPwe has the right to grant non-exclusive licenses to its Smart Pool Members. Each Founder, however, has the right to independently enter into licenses for their contributed patents.

What is IPwe’s role as the Smart Pools’ Administrator?

IPwe acts as an independent licensing administrator that leads the organization, administration, and management of the Smart Pools in multiple emerging technological areas. IPwe seeks to organize Smart Pools that balance the interests of technology innovators and users to promote innovation and adoption, deter predatory behavior, and make it easy to assess and manage patent compliance.

What are IPwe’s specific tasks as the Smart Pools’ Administrator?

IPwe is in charge of:

  • Marketing and communication plans;
  • Certifying relevant technology patents and maintaining an accurate list of patents on a publicly accessible website and at the Global Patent Registry;
  • Soliciting and enrolling Founding Members and Members;
  • Managing communications between and among Founding Members and Members;
  • Invoicing and collecting all Member payments and fees, and distributing revenue shares to Founding Members;
  • Establishing and maintaining Prior Art Library for Founding Members and Members;
  • Provide access to the IPwe Platform for members and founding members.

For each specific pool, IPwe is in charge of:

  • Proposing licensing fees’ pricing, based on revenues of the potential Members
  • Proposing how the gross licensing fees will be shared among IPwe and Founders
  • Paying for all Smart Pool related costs required to administer the Smart Pool, in order to promote consistency and reduce costs.
How are Smart Pools different from traditional patent pools?

IPwe’s Smart Pool Program is designed to improve innovation and modernize the patent system. Unlike others, IPwe’s Program is smart because it significantly lowers transaction costs by 80% as compared to other the traditional patent pools. The IPwe Smart Pool Program is efficient because it favors open source and sharing information, as opposed to the incredible inefficiencies led by litigation; and innovative, because it leverages the benefit of promising technologies, by increasing transparency and lowering transaction costs.

Who are the Founders?

The Smart Pool “Founders” represent innovators with patent portfolios in a particular technological area of the Smart Pool. Founders in the first instance are selected by IPwe based on having leading patents. With this recognition, Founders seek to drive adoption of their innovation, as well as to generate reasonable revenues from each Member based on the Founder’s innovation and investment in IP protection of it. Across the Members which accept the rate card level of investment for access to the Smart Pool patents, the revenues of Founders are projected to be higher than would be the case in an industry-wide litigation strategy. Members receive a non-exclusive right to license the Smart Pool patents. Founders maintain their ownership, optimize the utilization of their patents’ assets and maintain control within the Smart Pool over how their assets are licensed (with the transactions being securely stored on blockchain).

What is the difference between Founder and Anchor Member (together “Founders”) in the Smart Pool Program?

Both Founders and Anchor Members commit their patent portfolios for license to the Smart Pools. ‘Anchor Members’ are the leading enterprises in a specific Smart Pool that first work with IPwe to establish the basic terms of that Pool. ‘Founders’ are other leaders in that same Pool that have invested in that technology and desire to join the Pool. Founders are admitted with the consent of both Anchor Members and IPwe.

Who are the Members?

The core of IPwe’s mission is to foster innovation and its adoption and incentivize inventors and creators to produce new technologies for the benefit of the public. The Smart Pool ‘Members’ represent small, medium, or large enterprises taking license to the patents contributed to the Pool. They may join through various program features that offer important benefits beyond licensing, and freedom to operate. To become a Member, companies pay a yearly subscription based on annual revenue tier. SMEs with annual revenue lower than one million dollars have free access to the Smart Pool. With the consent of the current Founders, a Member may apply for and be admitted as a Founder.

How are revenues allocated among each Founder?

The Revenue Share is based on the relevant patents’ ratio: the share of revenues for each Founder will be determined by the gross revenues net of IPwe’s fees apportioned to its share of patent families among all Founders. A Patent Family is considered only when it includes at least two granted patents within the following geographies: US, CN, DE, JP, and with an IPwe validity score (V-score) above 62.

What about the program costs?

Most patent pooling programs involve significant payments to the program administrators which raise the cost for Founders and Members. Under the Smart Pool Program, IPwe only receives 15% of the gross revenue of the Pool.

Is it possible to be a Founder of multiple Pools? How?

Yes. If you would like to contribute to an existing Smart Pool, you can find a list of launched or planned pools here. If you are interested in starting a new pool around a new technology, you can submit the Pool idea here. Founders are not limited to one Smart Pool only.

Can I start my own Smart Pool? Is there a minimum number of Anchor Members for a launch?

Yes. You may send us a request here, and there is no minimum number of Anchor Members for a launch.

What is the connection between Blockchain and Smart Pools?

IPwe is leveraging the benefits of promising technologies by promoting innovation, increasing transparency, and lowering transaction costs. Prior to IPwe, the IP process was not technologically enabled and involved an incredible amount of human activity. Thanks to blockchain technologies, we are in a new era of financial transparency and reward of the best behavior. IPwe, in cooperation with IBM and CasperLabs, has the benefit of having all the information stored in one place and transactions stored securely on blockchain, giving full control and confidentiality.

What is the connection between NFTs and Smart Pools?

In the past, there has not been standardization in the patent space, and the general elongated process and complexity of traditional patent transactions represent an impediment to capital migrating to it. IPwe realized that tokenization results in risk mitigation, speed, information and, therefore, access to capital. Last April 20, 2021, IPwe announced its partnership with IBM to build the infrastructure to turn patents into Non-Fungible Tokens (“NFTs”) and store the records on a blockchain network. This approach will make it easier for patents to be sold, traded, and commercialized by investors and innovators, thereby creating the new patent asset class. This is expected to benefit not only large enterprises with significant patent portfolios, but it will also bring new opportunities to small and medium enterprises, as well as individual owners.

NFT Platform

What is a blockchain network?

A blockchain is basically an online database with special features. Many identical copies of the database exist, and all are automatically updated when a change is made. The distribution across all network nodes guarantees the integrity of the data stored on a blockchain as no single user or node can manipulate the decentralized data record.

How is IPwe using blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology is extremely secure – which is why we decided to build our whole platform on blockchain technology. But beyond the security aspect, the blockchain is an even more important springboard: it is a nurturing ground for Smart Contracts (see FAQ “What are Smart Contracts?”). When specific contractual events occur, the Smart Contracts directly can read from the blockchain and automatically trigger a predefined reaction – human intervention is no longer necessary. This means that micro-transactions, such as small-volume licenses are suddenly economically viable as they are no longer suffocated by transaction costs. The trail of evidence on the blockchain safeguards that every action can be audited properly.

What public blockchains did IPwe select?

We did not select Bitcoin or Ethereum, because their solutions negatively impact the environment. Instead, we selected Hyperledger and Casper Network because they use nodes versus miners with conservative energy utilization and are at the same time suitable for the enterprise class use cases we provide.


Will our company need to make internal changes to access the blockchain network?

Not at all. The platform is developed on the blockchain network but the blockchain dimension of it lives completely “under the hood”. Once you complete the IPwe verification process, you’ll be able to access the IPwe Platform from anywhere with an internet connection. The platform takes care of all blockchain records autonomously.

How long does it take to upload into the blockchain network?

Synchronizing data with the blockchain network only takes a couple of minutes, e.g. in the case of transactions. Because of our security checks on ownership, it takes roughly 2 days to verify your patents until they are added to your dashboard on the IPwe Platform.

What are NFTs?

NFT is an acronym for “non-fungible token”. “Token” is the technical term for a blockchain object. The adjective “non-fungible” expresses that the token is unique, i.e. that it only exists once as it represents a single real-world object – in our case an intellectual property asset. A counterexample for a “fungible” token would be a crypto coin (e.g. a Bitcoin or an Ether), where the focus does not lie on the ownership of one specific coin but on the value expressed through that coin. The creation of an NFT is referred to as “minting”.

Why do NFTs matter?

We like to refer to NFTs as shells that hold all relevant information to a patent in one single and secure repository for the first time in the history of patents. Having all data points at hand enables the NFT owner to quickly make informed strategic decisions about what to do with the tokenized patent to use it efficiently.

At the same time, NFTs increase the transparency for all market participants. It is easier to find out if there is a patent in a specific space (existence), who owns it (title), and what the asset’s history is. The reason for these transparency and efficiency gains is based on the standardization of the NFT key attributes, underlying agreements and rights. Simplification and standardization of licensing rights are a simple example that will benefit innovators, creators and capital sources.

Unlike a tweet sale or digital art sale, this is the first time NFTs touch almost every single enterprise company and all the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that hold patents.

Why do you need an NFT when dealing with an asset that is already unique?

There are many advantages of maintaining a digital twin of a real-world asset but the key advantages are the following:

  • Data aggregation: Information around specific patents is not kept in one central repository but is highly fractionalized. The NFT serves the purpose of aggregating all relevant data about one patent to analyze it quicker and more efficient.
  • Data verification: Collected data is only valuable if it is trustworthy. When adding a data point to the NFT, IPwe and other third parties confirm its level of trustworthiness, e.g. whether all the “public” records show the same owner for a patent as 30% of worldwide patents are currently assumed to have inaccurate ownership records across the 150+ worldwide patent offices.
  • A History of Value: At some point, all the history of a patent will sit on the NFT – not just who owns it, but who is licensing it, who is commercializing it, who is financing it. This information can be used to confirm value.


Why does this need blockchain? Why can't you run this is a centralized database?

Generally, permanent reliable records become important for auditing trails. Assets like bitcoin or tokens that originate on the blockchain are easy to verify and track. An asset that originates some place other than the blockchain, like diamonds, music or patents, does not include its source, a state that is referred to as the “oracle problem”. Factually, simply because one puts something on the blockchain does not clear up title, rights or other critical business attributes. The NFT we developed solves this “off blockchain problem” in a way that all participants can be comfortable that they are dealing with the “real” patent and the “real” owner. As mentioned above, the ability to administer future contractual requirements can be provided by smart contract

Does the creation of an NFT make confidential information about my asset public?

No. Only the existence of an NFT is logged to a public blockchain. All other information can be kept confidential as IPwe, Casper Labs and IBM have figured out a model that gives owners and their transaction partners information and comfort to make transactions easy but, at their choosing, private or public. You have full control about this at any point. But value will be demonstrated by making a lot of this information public.

Can all kinds of Intellectual Property be turned into NFTs?

Yes – copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks, utility models, design, and patents can each be turned into an NFT. The tokenization of patents is just the first use case that IPwe is starting with.

Does the creation of an NFT require any governmental or administrative buy-in?

No, the participation of a government or public administration (e.g. a patent office) is not required to create an NFT. We have prepared interfaces to include such institutions into the NFT ecosystem with the possibility of direct data exchange but we primarily want enterprise companies, universities and SMEs to benefit from our efforts. We expect the patent office to follow soon afterwards.

Why start with enterprise customers?

The top 1,000 enterprise entities in the world hold approximately 50% of the world’s patents. We think that, given the nature of IP, it makes sense to lead with enterprise. We have programs to bring SMEs online, but the major impact in the market will be realized as a result of enterprise adoption. Unlike other NFTs, enterprise will lead here, and we are already seeing this.

What does the current patent market look like? Is there room for improvement?

There are about 15 million active patents and about 5 million pending applications around the world – representing trillions of dollars in R&D investment. About 2% to 5% trade or are licensed (China’s Patent Commercialization Rate) was over 34% in 2020, in any year at a total of $180 billion in licensing and sales volume. At the same time, only 5% of the worldwide patents are ever commercialized into products. This setting provides a lot of opportunity. The keys to drive market engagement are transparency and lower discovery costs

Do IPwe patent NFTs create value for all participants?

Yes, we are convinced that they do. NFTs benefit owners, licensing and commercial partners for the reasons discussed above. Many key players in the ecosystem have expressed their frustration that IP and intangibles are material assets that are difficult to understand and very difficult to engage with. We believe that the simple act of patent owners claiming their patent NFTs already increases the value of their patents. Transparency alone increases value—to say nothing of the other benefits associated with this effort, such as the improved commercialization rates benefiting innovators, owners, commercialization partners, finance, and service providers.

But we also believe that our NFTs will benefit banks, insurers, capital markets players – and anyone who lends, insures or financially engages with IP. Our goal is much broader than any one ecosystem participant. Platforms do not work if there is not value creation for all who engage with the platform. So, we will refine and make sure that our NFTs generate value creation opportunities for all of the participants in the ecosystem.

How do NFTs make trading IP more efficient?

NFTs make trading IP much more cost efficient. Today’s process requires attorneys, contracts and paper-based processes. By using an NFT, the entire model is simplified by having all of the key information in one easy to access location. If you are inclined and require the information, there is additional information readily available on our platform. We are standardizing how this information is presented and accessed and standardizing the transaction process. Capital tends to pursue opportunities that exhibit these attributes. The mortgage securities and credit derivative markets developed and standardized over the last 30 years—the IP market can as well. NFTs technologically enable what was simply too complex or simply not possible before.

Who sets the value of the NFT?

IPwe has developed an array of algorithms to evaluate and value patents. These algorithms provide a minimum value for any granted patents – which will be considered as a “IPwe Verified” minimum value. The patent owner can provide an own valuation which will be referenced as the “owner verified” value of an NFT. On the basis of the provided evidence, the market can decide, which valuation or aspects of which valuation it trusts.

Is the plan for the NFTs to contain the intellectual property rights that patents hold, or are they - like most of the NFTs associated with artworks - ledger entries that are associated with a URL?

Our NFTs go beyond the mere record of the title itself. We help you create additional tokens that represent the licensing rights, development rights, financing rights, commercialization rights or any rights you like – easy to track and all standardized.

What is the distinction between IPwe's technology efforts of the past two years and the NFT component?

In early 2018, what IPwe described was an “NFT”, we just did not call it that because the name did not exist – we were reluctant to tokenize because in 2018 that was not being embraced by enterprise. The business at a conceptual level is not new – IPwe’s CEO Erich Spangenberg has been talking about this publicly and thinking about it since at least 2009. The time spent learning the existing market, building the technology and creating the relationships is incredibly valuable. Now the dream is technologically enabled as a result of advances in exponential technologies and transforming what we think is one the most critical corporate assets: IP.


What are Smart Contracts?

A Smart Contract is a self-executing contract with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. The code controls the execution, and transactions are trackable and irreversible.

How are Smart Contracts utilized in the process?

The Smart Contract is built into the NFT with standardized terms associated with every patent. The owner of the patent sets their contract terms, what is public and what is not. The capital and other transaction partners have the transparency, information standardization and ease of interaction they need. We utilize a connection between Ricardian contracts (they can be read by lawyers and business professionals) and Smart Contracts that actually deliver value in a format useable by business executives and the participants in the IP ecosystem.

What trials will be carried out over the next few months, who will participate, and what are the top objectives?

IPwe is focused on both enterprise and SMEs in our initial trials. Our initial trials will test exactly what we talked about above. We know we are solving a very real and huge business problem. Our solution has been developed by the best minds in the field over the last two years– but refinements are needed to further make this easier for enterprise companies and SMEs.

Is a new NFT marketplace really needed for patents? Why can't you just use an existing NFT marketplace to transact patents?

IPwe believes that patents are unique assets with unique attributes and requirements. Creating an NFT is the easy part – there are a number of blockchain protocols that let you create NFTs. Creating an NFT that addresses the unique attributes of patents has taken us three years to think through and required that we create a solution that is compelling from an owner and transaction partner perspective. One can tokenize pretty much anything – the rights associated with that NFT are critical. The question always was: does the NFT solve a business problem for the ecosystem or is it just adding complexity to an already complex system, and does it solve the problem in a way that creates value for all of the participants in the ecosystem and not just the creator of the token. Focusing on enterprise and solving their needs are critical.

Smart Services

What are Smart Services?

Smart Services is a better way to deliver patent advisory services through IPwe AI analytics and our team of IP experts that provide a comprehensive review of your portfolio and provide its best-suited Patent Strategy. By starting with a comprehensive report of your patent portfolio in terms of its features and value drivers, your portfolio’s relation to their specific patent landscape, and market/technological relevance, IPwe is able to deliver analysis, insights, and actionable recommendations for improving or maintaining your patent position in the form of: patent sales, licensing, acquisition, portfolio optimization and enhancements, risk mitigation and much more.

How can I determine if I need Smart Services?

You have nothing to lose from better understanding your patent position. By uncovering hidden gems in your portfolio or flagging any potential risks, you take the initiative to put your organization on the correct path of success. If you are interested in finding new ways to monetize your patents, show the relevance of your protected innovation to investors and market, finding any unknown risks, or conducting a quality check on your portfolio – our Smart Services are the right choice for you.

What is required to be a Smart Service Client?

If you are a current patent holder, you are qualified for Smart Services which is the most adequate starting point for large corporations that have key families you would like to have analyzed. If you are an SME or individual owner with a smaller position, we can prepare a report for the entirety of your portfolio.

Additionally, if you are not a patent holder but are thinking about starting a patent portfolio, Smart Services, IPwe’s patent landscape and filing strategy capabilities can help you build a strong patent position from scratch.

Does Smart Services end with a transaction?

No. Our Smart Services are tailored to fit client’s needs. In some instances, it will end with final sale of patents, but it can also lead to other end results such as: portfolio optimization and enhancements, filing strategy, patent acquisition or full matter patent support.


What is the full process of Smart Services?

We offer a client control staged approach. There is no lock into other stages, but we will always start with Stage 1

The 5 stages are:

  • Stage 1 – Comprehensive Patent Portfolio Analysis + Enhanced Patent Strategy Insights
  • Stage 2 – Evidence of Use Analysis
  • Stage 3 – Portfolio Optimization & Enhancements
  • Stage 4 – Patent Monetization & Acquisition Support
  • Stage 5 – Full Patent Matters Support.

Thank you very much for your interest. Please insert your business email address here to access the resource.

    Share this page
    Contact Us