What is a patent and why is patent information vital for innovation? A patent is a type of intellectual property that specifically protects inventions. It gives the inventor a monopoly, which allows the patent holder to protect their invention from competition for a set period. By granting such rights, patents provide incentives for innovators and enable them to appropriate returns on investment. This ultimately drives innovation and technological growth. As a result of this, access to patent data is vital for businesses as it can show you where your industry is headed, what your competitors are doing and ultimately, to plan your own competitive and R&D strategies.
Featuring for The Enterprise World’s winner of the ‘The Most Innovative Law Firms to Watch’ is Minesoft LLP, a global patent solutions provider.
Minesoft is a family-run business that emerged as an ideal opportunity to combine the skillsets of the two founders of the company, Ann Chapman and Ophir Daniel. Prior to starting the business, Ann had an established career in the online publishing industry, managing and directing companies in the field of published patents, sci-tech, and business information. On the other hand, Ophir had successful career as an in-demand web-based developer working in the early internet era. In 2003, the pair began a close cooperation with RWS PLC, a publicly quoted UK specialist translation company.
“Together, we built a searchable database which now hosts about 150 million patent documents and RWS’s translation engine helps us provide this in many different languages.”
Fast-forward to the present day and Minesoft has grown leaps and bounds. In 2022, the company closed on a substantial growth investment from MLM 2, an information services and software platform, and Warburg Pincus, a leading global growth investor.
The Challenges and Success
Minesoft had a humble beginning – Ann and Ophir started the company independently and conceptualised the business around their kitchen table. Despite this, they were able to turn their idea into a success story without any initial outside investment or substantial start-up capital.
“It is important to understand that gaining a client is one thing. Keeping them is another.”
Minesoft has one of the highest client retention rates in the industry, something the team has always taken pride in. Customer service has been prioritised as a key part of Minesoft’s business model from an early stage, relationships are extremely important in patent information industry.
A way that they have achieved this extraordinary client retention rate is via the provision of unlimited customer service that is delivered by highly trained customer success teams. Their commitment to ensuring that a client really reaps the full benefits of their subscription is vital. As such, Minesoft takes the time to ensure that clients fully understand the system and data capabilities through offering face to face trainings, training days and topic specific webinars delivered to whole teams and individuals alike.
Further to this, Minesoft boasts an impressive customer-led enhancement turnaround. Often, the request can be received in the morning and actioned by the afternoon, ensuring its availability worldwide via the dedicated IT and support teams. Minesoft puts more power in the hands of the customer, who in turn stay loyal to the company.
“Clients in the patent world understand how important data cleanliness, accuracy and completeness is and it is always good to know when we are doing a better job on the searchability side, as well as listening and responding to where we need to do better.”
Minesoft’s Arsenal of Products and Services
There are several different user types that require Minesoft’s patent database platform and analytics capabilities. These range from patent attorneys, businesses performing freedom to operate searches, R&D teams and many more. The search and analytics platform (Analytics V3) available on PatBase, allows users to interact with a graphical output of their search query instantaneously.
Since the formation of the company, the Minesoft team has worked consistently on improving the platform, with hundreds of developments over each of the product’s lifecycles. Ann explains that search platforms should be built for users, by users, and this is at the core of the Minesoft ethos.
Minesoft has tried to strike the balance between development cycles whilst simultaneously remaining responsive to client feedback. User feedback has had a profound impact on the development of their products and continues to shape the trajectory of their product development. For instance, Minesoft has developed tools for consumers in the biotech, chemical and life sciences industries which range from the automation of text extraction and association to creating the tools to easily draw chemical structures for search input.
“If our clients have ideas about how we can further help them, we will do so, even if the benefit is focused on a particular vertical market segment.”
The Road Ahead-
Moving forward and continuing to provide clients with excellent customer service, keeping clients at the centre of their business model and product development is essential to Minesoft.
“Our customers are experts in the patent information field and often use Minesoft products on a day-to-day basis so who better to make informed decisions about future development than them.”
Being a small, dynamic team with in-house development specialists – Minesoft can often make tweaks based on customer feedback on the same day.
Not only is Minesoft able to respond to customer feedback on a very meticulous level. Minesoft is also able to respond to the needs of the market as a whole. This is made evident by the launch of their new platform ‘PatDocs’ – a streamlined patent document delivery system aimed primarily at paralegals looking for efficient ways to supply patent information to attorneys.
PatDocs has automated tools to relieve the workload of IP professionals and the laborious task of finding patent information via national patent offices. These include auto-populate IDS forms and a family tree mapping functionality that allows for the visualisation of complex relationships between patent families.
Furthermore, the company is also embarking on an exciting journey adding some more innovative products to their arsenal. Minesoft’s development team is focussing on natural language searching and semantics, as well as automated translations and landscaping analysis. Artificial Intelligence is a big buzzword in the Online Publishing Industry at present, and the team are prioritising development in this area to further automate and streamline their products.
“We host about 150 million patent (sci-tech) documents right now and this is increasing literally each week.”
Such a large body of research material needs to be made accessible to companies who are working to pioneer new solutions. Search speeds are getting exponentially faster, the computer industry and data delivery mechanisms (including the Internet) are developing rapidly too. The recent investment will accelerate the development of new products and enhance existing products with analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning – so watch this space!
Unmatched Leadership of Ann Chapman-Daniel-
Co-Founder | CEO
“We believe it is very important for businesses to play a positive role in local communities.”
As a global patent solutions provider, Minesoft is committed to driving innovation worldwide. As such, they have partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in the ASPI programme. This program allows patent offices and academic and research institutions in developing countries to have access to Minesoft’s solutions. Access to high-quality patent data can drive innovation and industry growth, which contributes to levelling the economic playing field between developed and developing countries.
For the past 20 years, Minesoft has been providing reliable and powerful digital solutions to access the technological and scientific information which is often only available in patent documents.
“We invest a lot of time and effort in designing and developing the search tools according to the feedback we receive from our users, so they are equipped to handle the multiplicity of data and sources.”
Giving unfettered access to this data helps to drive innovation globally and supports advancement in the scientific and technological fields, whether it’s a new pharmaceutical drug or technology for electric vehicles… building on these ideas can change the world for the better.
The Many Accolades of Minesoft-
Minesoft’s history spans over 20 years and during this time the company has received numerous accolades and awards for its commitment to customer service and the development of industry leading IP solutions. In 2003, Minesoft & RWS launched PatBase, a searchable database of patent documents designed by experts in the complex art of patent information research. Since it’s conception to now, PatBase boasts a customer base of over 90,000 users worldwide.
In 2009, Minesoft won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for an outstanding achievement in rapidly growing export markets in the field of Intellectual Property Information. This is a testament to the international success of PatBase and to the dedication of the development, sales, and support staff behind the product and company.
Minesoft has expanded its portfolio of innovative patent information products to include PatBase Express, PatentOrder, PatDocs, IPShare, Legal StatusTracker, CiteTracker, Chemical Explorer, Pat-KM and PatBase Analytics. This continuous innovation was instrumental in Minesoft being awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for a second time in 2015. The award was given for an impressive, sustained growth in International Trade. The company demonstrated an outstanding achievement in rapidly growing export markets in the field of Intellectual Property Information.
Minesoft has also recently been named Legal Tech Company of the Year 2021 by ACQ5 and The Most Recommended Legal Technology Solution Providers in 2021.
“These awards are a testament to our ongoing work to meet the needs of our fast-growing global clientele.”