CrowdIPR: Crowdsourcing Platform for Intellectual Property Research

crowd_iprCrowdIPR is a research crowdsourcing platform for evaluating or determining novelty, freedom-to-operate and infringements. With the power of an international crowd of technology experts they provide quick and high quality prior art reports. During the initial stages of development of a new technology a company needs to perform extensive searches of patent and non-patent databases to find out everything that has been previously published which pertains to the technology or “art”. This is referred to as prior art searching.

The platform works like this:

  • An intellectual property (IP) research project is posted, which requests references to similar solutions (e.g., similar products, patent documents or academic research).
  • Researchers look for relevant documents and links, and post them to the IP research project.
  • Researchers rate and comment on each other’s references.
  • The researchers who submitted the most high relevancy references and provided the most valuable feedback on others’ prior art are rewarded.

The idea originated when one the cofounders, Mikk Putk, who is a patent attorney and a professional patent researcher was frustrated with the information overload (for example, in 2010 there were over 900 000 new patents granted and over 2 million patent applications submitted) and he was looking for new more effective ways of conducting patent research and improving the quality of search results. The initial idea of the London based startup was born then.

Startups and tech companies can make sure they are not infringing on somebody else’s IP as well as evaluate their own idea’s novelty. It helps universities in picking research topics which add to the existing knowledge out there. And IP firms can use the platform to acquire the raw data for more in-depth patent analysis work for their own clients. YourStory spoke to Taavi Raidma, cofounder and CEO CrowdIPR to understand more about their business idea.

How does CrowdIPR make researching about Intellectual Property easy?

By adapting a global-scale crowdsourcing model we are able to give our clients access to broader range of information sources (patent databases, academic databases etc), information in more languages, creative ways of query design and also bring down the cost significantly. It makes innovation processes more effective and quicker, and inventors can easily test the novelty of their inventions with the help of an international crowd of people. Based on specific needs we can offer different levels of detail and confidentiality in the research.

We aim to become world’s largest network of technology and patent experts. So far we have seen many graduate students, academics and patent research professionals joining our community of researchers. The larger the variety of people participating a research project, the more interesting and useful results we are able to provide our clients.

How has the response been so far from India?

We are seeing an increasing interest from India, particularly from patent professionals. Approximately a third of our community of 400+ researchers currently comes from India and we are seeing very high-quality people joining from there. I am in constant communication with Indian researchers to figure out ways of improving the usability of the platform, to learn of the motivation schemes that they would like to see as well as the types of projects they have most interest in. We are also actively looking for partnership opportunities with Indian universities and in talks with professional IP research companies in India who could use our platform to increase their exposure to the Western markets.

Pricing

We are going to introduce a freemium model to IP research. Basic research projects can be posted for free with the option of upgrading to receive more results and get in-depth statistics. Separate pricing will be for confidential projects.  

Business model

We earn money by charging for research projects from which a large part will be paid to the researchers who do the work. We will expand our service offering in the future- for example to trademark research and potentially also act as a marketplace for other IP-related services (patent drafting etc.).

CrowdIPR was one of the finalists at the London Web Summit startup competition and are financially backed by UK-based VC firms Northstar Ventures and IP Group.