AI and Blockchain help discover and transact IP
IPwe creates world’s first blockchain-powered patent platform
Drafting paper with drawings of mechanical schematics

Intellectual property (IP) law tends to be murky waters for creators and investors.

When someone comes up with an idea, they want to protect it, making sure it can’t be stolen or replicated without consent. So, the creator opts into getting a patent license as proof of ownership. But how can these patents be traced back to the creator?

In an ideal world, patent owners, law firms, companies, service providers and global patent offices would be communicating across a single, unified platform — but up until 2019, that didn’t exist. Patent ownership had to be tracked through heaps of complex paperwork for millions of patents, resulting in a great deal of money lost on these assets.

“The market lacked transparency and efficiency and involved an incredible amount of human activity,” explains IPwe CEO Erich Spangenberg. “Anytime there was an IP transaction it was generally kept a secret. Most companies who sell something want you to know they sold it, but with IP, they played by a different set of rules: confidentiality and hidden transactions.”

1st in the World


Created the 1st in the World Global Patent Registry (GPR) powered by AI and blockchain


Extensive Data

IPwe has on its system 80% of the world's patents


For companies, more often smaller ones relying on IP for value, they need help understanding what they own for the market to appreciate their asset potential. They don’t have the ability to communicate it to third parties. Erich Spangenberg CEO IPwe

IPwe, an IP transaction platform, helps companies see what IP they have versus the IP their competitors have. It also shows them associated risk factors and how they can make better use of their IP. Yet, the platform saw the inefficiencies and the dire need for transparency that plagued the global patent market. IPwe estimates that 1 trillion USD in IP is never transacted upon because of the difficulties surrounding managing and evaluating assets.

“The marketplace was a mess and extremely inefficient,” says Spangenberg. “The system completely lacked transparency, and transactions were kept a secret.”

Delivering global market transparency

The ecosystem was overdue for a change that would bypass the need for humans to dig through thousands of pages of patents, and that’s where blockchain and AI came in. IPwe began exploring the idea of using these new technologies to create an automated marketplace that could connect all parties involved in a patent’s creation and use.

IPwe enlisted the help of IBM to create a unique suite of products to fit its needs. Working from the IBM Cloud®, the company combines IBM® Blockchain technology with multiple IBM Watson® AI solutions to increase visibility and flexibility within the complex patent market for both buyers and sellers.

IPwe uses AI capabilities to make sense of the millions of patents circulating globally, each averaging a minimum of 20 pages. By blending natural language processing (NLP), predictive analytics and machine learning from IBM Watson, IPwe can rapidly analyze patent information. It can then use the information to generate summaries and reports to help users identify lucrative opportunities while steering clear of potential commercial risks.

“IPwe helps companies discover what it is they have and what their competitors have from an IP perspective at a lower cost, what are the risk factors associated with it, and what can they do to generate a higher return on those intangible assets,” says Spangenberg. “We’ve made it possible for companies to be transparent in transactional activity, whether it be a license or acquisition transaction.”

Leveraging AI and blockchain allowed IPwe to build an automated and transparent Global Patent Registry (GPR). The GPR is the world’s first blockchain registry collecting current, active and historical patent records in a single, freely accessible registry. The technology helps remove the barriers to understanding the critical aspects of patent information. It allows for both record keeping of and smart contracts for an underlying asset.

“It’s important for companies to gain quick access to information about IP, in particular about its ownership and attributes,” explains Spangenberg. “We now provide that information in one place with the Global Patent Registry. Companies can better understand what it is they have and can better communicate that to the market.”

We are 100% reliant on AI and blockchain to accomplish our mission. It’s an incredible platform that is being utilized heavily and is accelerating at a phenomenal rate. Erich Spangenberg CEO IPwe
Substantial reductions in cost

IPwe has been able to accomplish an astonishing feat by creating the world’s first blockchain-powered GPR. The platform solves the fundamental problems of inaccurate data, outdated ownership records and lack of transparency in the IP ecosystem.

“IBM really transformed what IPwe was about and how we’re doing what we do,” says Spangenberg. “The platform has grown quickly. It has changed the market, making it less expensive and more efficient to interact with IP, saving small to midsize enterprises millions of dollars.”

IPwe continues to see significant reductions in transactional costs for patent innovators and partners. The company successfully helps organizations worldwide gain liquidity from patent assets and improve the performance of hidden critical intangibles.

As for the future, IPwe has big plans for expanding its AI and blockchain features with IBM. The platform is on track for advancing the tokenization of patents and patent attributes in the near future. Tokens can be easily traded, transferred and licensed through blockchain-enabled smart contracts. These additional Hyperledger features could fundamentally change how innovators and the capital markets interact and manage an IP’s lifecycle, creating a new class of assets.

IPwe logo
About IPwe

Founded in 2017, IPwe (link resides outside of IBM) is the world’s first global patent market. By combining information and tools to identify patents and research to understand them, IPwe brings transparency to the market and cuts out billions in wasted costs. The platform focuses on helping small-to-midsize enterprises understand, manage and transact their IP assets.

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