Blockchain Patent Tool Loci Offers Boost To Product Creatorsbr>
Loci offers a one-stop-shop experience to help navigate the patent research process from start to finish.
Innovators who use Loci for patents have the advantage of timestamped protection, access to research, and the option to find or be pursued by investors through one platform, all at a significantly lower investment than traditional methods.
The service offers the following:
LOCIsearch, built on blockchain technology, enables the user to stake claim on their unique ideas via time-stamping. Staking a claim gives the user a 12 month grace period to officially file for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office without the worry of someone beating them to the punch.
LOCIsearch provides an ideal solution for innovators to do their own intellectual property rights research, as opposed to hiring an expensive patent lawyer.
The opportunity to participate in IP pools made up of several related patents that are available for purchase by large corporations. Corporations buy up IP pools from entrepreneurs to broaden their reach and have free reign over their development process. When an IP pool gets bought, every inventor within that pool gets a nice payout.
Block Tribune talked with CEO John Wise about the process.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: So, first off, how do you pronounce the name of your company?
JOHN WISE: Low-key.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay, like the mythical Norse god?
JOHN WISE: Pronounced the same way, but the Norse god is, well, the god of mischief. That’s spelled Loki.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Yes.
JOHN WISE: Loki is not just the god of mischief, he’s also the god of intellect. In our case, a Loci is both a singular and a plural of a swarm, so the swarm mind, the hype mind, that is a Loci. That is the singular of a swarm of locusts.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. So where did you get the idea for this patent search technology?
JOHN WISE: Well, a couple of different places. Long time ago, I was in motor sports and racing. I was an aerospace mechanical engineer and I was around a lot of fantastic inventions, a lot of fantastic inventors that were coming up with really cool technologies, but I saw them go absolutely nowhere. Not because they didn’t want to, but because they were so concerned about the sharing and the competitive advantage especially in racing, that they never really wanted to share anything.
Again, I wanted to fix this and created a Wikipedia for inventions, but that didn’t work. Didn’t work at all. Not for the reason that we thought, we kind of assumed it wasn’t going to work because people didn’t want to share their technology. That actually wasn’t the case at all. It didn’t work because of a systemic flaw that when an inventor comes up with a new technology, he or she also names that invention, and if all the searching systems out there are using keyword searching, then you can never find it. It was a pretty big systemic issue. We realized that there was no context at all in search engines. There was no greater understanding of what something fundamentally did. So, we sought out to fix that, and that’s what we’ve been building since 2008.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: So, you were building this actually before the advent of blockchain. When did you suddenly realize that this new technology would improve what you’re trying to do?
JOHN WISE: Really early 2017, we kind of readdressed it. There were some new laws that had passed in 2014. One of the first laws was, we went to a First to File basis in the patent offices, both of in the U.S. and PCT were just kind of a global system. We went to a First to File basis and what that means is that the first inventor to actually file for the patent ends up receiving the the patent. They realize, the patent offices realized that there was a pretty large exposure though because patents are quite expensive and take quite a long time to actually receive and apply for. They created a couple of provisions because there was a big risk that the inventors would need to go and raise capital in order to file for the patent in the first place. So they created a couple of provisions.
The first one was called the Provisional Patent which is $99.00 filing fee that creates a provisional patent that lasts one year. It gives you a one year grace period to file a full patent. At the same time, they also created this Public Disclosure Clause which gives, effectively, the same rights as a Provisional Patent and gives the inventor a one year grace period to file a non-provisional patent, but the difference with that is that all you need to do is discuss the invention in a public setting. So whether it was raising capital, discussing it to a group of more than two people, writing a white paper, coming out with a product, you had the same one year grace period.
That really is what did it for us. Between that and blockchain because we realized that there was no database, no system out there for sharing what inventions did and did not exist in a public disclosure setting. You didn’t need to go through the patent office at all for it. That’s essentially what we ended up doing. We already had the search tool and said, “Okay, look if we can start staking these public disclosure rights on the blockchain, then everybody can get the same legal rights as a patent without having a patent examiner.”
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Have you had any test cases yet where the patent was challenged based on your technology?
JOHN WISE: No, but you don’t really need to. There are a lot of test cases out there. There’s a lot of case law and a lot of precedents around challenging the filing of a patent because of any public disclosure claim. So, a lot of inventors do it currently or have done it in the past by sending themselves a certified letter disclosing their technology. It doesn’t actually disclose it, but because it was referenced by a government entity, it has a lot of the same rights. That had issues in the past, but really all you need to do for a public disclosure is show that it’s been publicly disclosed. You don’t really need to set any case law for it.
In a nutshell, we’re not claiming that anything that we do is creating or filing a patent. Although we are coming up with systems to streamline that process for our customers. What we’re doing is being able to stop patents. Just showing that something exists is enough.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How does your process work?
JOHN WISE: Sure. So, the first question that every inventor needs to ask is, “Has this invention existed before?” Pretty simple question to ask with actually a really, really hard answer to get. In a world where we’ve got patents, we’ve got products, we’ve got public disclosures, we’ve got provisional patents, but only about 15% of that is actually clear and out in the open and published. You can have a lot more things that block a patent than you can just, I guess, discern or determine.
The first time an inventor really does any research on this is to see if the invention already exists. This is referred to as a novelty search or a prior art search. Prior art being the inventions that have existed before yours in order for yours to exist. You need to determine those things in order to be able to determine where your claim of novelty is.
With our search, we have a very simple interface. What it essentially is, is the same keyword search that you would do in something like Google or LexisNexis or USPTO, but you can do four of them at the same time. Now four is not that big of a deal, but what’s really cool about it is the interface. What you actually end up doing is any time you do a search on something like Google, it’ll just give you a list of the results right back, right? Within our system, we do a list of results, but they’re all depicted as docs and those docs go into a circle that’s tied to only that search. You do four of these searches at the same time, and you can see the immediate overlay of all four searches and then determine quick relevancy.
From there, you then start highlighting things that are relevant to prior art, and you add those relevant prior art pieces to a new results set. Something that you’ve titled, named yourself. That result set then has all of this relevant information, all the relevant inventions that have come before yours, and it starts placing these stakes in the ground in a virtual ground. Kind of like determining your plot land, except in this case, it’s determining the plot of novelty.
We then get the equidistance points of all of those in order to understand where your invention would fit. From there, you could then write up a provisional patent form, a web form, or even write up an entire provisional patent, and post your invention, your provisional, with that plot, that land plot.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How many of these have been successful so far, as far as people going through the process and actually filing that provisional patent?
JOHN WISE: I don’t know. I don’t have any of those KPIs on me right now.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is it several hundred, several thousand, several million?
JOHN WISE: I think it’s probably thousands, but I really don’t know.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. So, how do people pay for this as far as a blockchain? You have a coin that people use, a token?
JOHN WISE: Yeah, we’ve got a couple of different ways. No, so, we got a couple of ways. We had sales before doing a token sale. So, it was pretty simple. We were selling a product for $250.00 per user, per month. Now, typically, to do this novelty or prior art search, you would pay an attorney about $2,500.00 and your chance of success is actually relatively low. There’s a lot of loss in context. So, our service is $250.00, it’s a do-it-yourself patent searching tool. When we decided to go the coin route as well, we said, “Well, look, it makes a lot of sense to be $250.00 or 100 coins.” Then it costs one coin to stake the invention on the blockchain as essentially is gas, and you can sell the rights to your public disclosure because everything’s anonymized. You can end up getting return very, very, very quickly with this process.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How much did you raise in your ICO and when was it held?
JOHN WISE: It was held from September through December 30th. We raised about 7, 7 and a half million.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Is this tool going to be available for anything else beyond patents? What about one of the big things out here in Hollywood, scripts and books and copyrights?
JOHN WISE: Yes. Yeah, so, absolutely it will. What we’re really focusing on right now is the invention side mostly because the valuation metrics are definable but very, very, very complicated. What we’re really shooting for here is a global exchange of intellectual property as a tradeable asset class. So, we’re really starting with all of the patents, but theoretically, anybody can stake any sort of technology, any copy, trademarks, phrases, catch phrases, whatever they want on the blockchain and do the exact same process, the valuation which is deemed much more speculative for those.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. Now these are US patents I take it? What about the rest of the world?
JOHN WISE: No, actually they’re global. We have patents and inventions from all over the world. I don’t remember what we have right now because IDify, our data provider, just updated it, but last I heard was somewhere around 98 patent databases in something like 60+ languages. We use the same database and database company as Google Patent, LexisNexis, Westlaw, and all of the big IP guys.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Okay. Now tell me about the intellectual property pools, which is a feature of your service.
JOHN WISE: That’s something that we haven’t quite launched yet, but I’m really excited about. That’s really, really going to be the big flagship part of our whole thing. It’s going to down a bit of a rabbit hole, but I can explain the pools themselves which is just very simply inventions themselves, especially at the prior art phase when an inventor’s just looked the thing up. It has value, it has intrinsic value because it can block a patent. What it doesn’t really have is a patent value yet. It’s not really a recognized asset or at least not currently. With our system, it will be.
What essentially we’re going to be doing is as inventors are discovering technologies and creating their stakes, they’ll be able to sell those to the Foundation, the Loci Foundation, for a coin. The Foundation then would group together all of these ideas, these inventions that have yet to be patented, group them together into an investment pools, and then we can sell those investment pools to enterprises or investment banks.
It’s a bit esoteric, but what I’m essentially saying is that we’ll be selling similar to like an option for patents or inventions. We’ll be selling the right to file inventions in all these different markets. Ultimately, it’ll be like an enterprise buying their competitive advantage, their mote, if you will.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Lets talk about your governance.
JOHN WISE: Oh, okay. Yeah. So, I think one of the biggest things is global governance, especially global governance around asset transactions. It’s something that’s really intriguing to me. For the first time, if you really think about it, for the first time in human existence, we have a globalization of voice of what we’re thinking and feeling. We now have a globalization of money. We’ve had a globalization of assets in the past, being able to sell and transact things. The banking system is globalized. But, what there isn’t is a global governance. There’s no global regulation body or regulatory body especially around financial instruments.
We tried with things like World Bank, IMF, the U.N., but it’s not really there. What’s interesting about this to me is that with intellectual property, every bank in the world already recognizes IP as being a valuable asset. In fact, they can all lend against it and every country recognizes it as an asset. They almost all have regulation around them. But there’s never been an exchange of IP.
If you look at GDP, you can break GDP down into three sections: products, goods, and services. The services are largely banking, finance, and legal. They make up a fairly small percentage, 10 to 15%. The goods are largely textiles, agriculture, and livestock. Again about 15%. But 70% is made up of product. Those products are broken down into three things as well. You’ve got the execution, people to actually assemble, put stuff together, sell it, market it. You’ve got the materials, mined from the earth, and you’ve got the idea of what the product is in the first place.
Now, the execution is traded on equities markets. The material are traded on commodities market, but where is the idea traded? Where are the idea traded? They aren’t. They’re looped into the equity valuation, right? Industries and enterprises, companies, and individuals all want to be able to offer their information with their ideas up. Ultimately, individuals are far more nimble and much more creative and innovative than enterprises are, and enterprises are much better at executing on things than individuals are. So what we’re trying to do is really separate these things out, bifurcate it, make it so that we can crowd source innovation from anywhere in the world. Driving value right back to intellect as opposed to just efforts and commodity.