Shadowing a New Analyst’s approach to Patent Monetization
With every project comes a challenge, and with every challenge that we overcome a milestone is set. Most of you would relate to this – some when they push their limits at the gym, others when they come up with stronger and stronger arguments each time they appear in front of the court. For most of us, facing challenges and overcoming them is a daily routine.
It wasn’t any different for Ayushi either. Ayushi who?
Well, she is a fellow colleague who has recently joined as a Research Analyst in our infringement team. Along with few others, she was recently assigned to work on a monetization project under her mentor Aditi for a regular client of ours.
Our client wanted to acquire patents for Monetization
Since we had a lot of patents to review and very little time, we could allocate only a few hours for each patent. So, the important point for us was how to plan the analysis so that we do not leave any high-quality patent.
Therefore, the team brainstormed to figure out solutions, like:
- Using our Litigation prediction tool and BOS tool to analyze the top patents in the portfolio, and
- Searching for practical applications instead of online literature of the same.
But then we came across a patent that demanded more than a few hours, and we couldn’t make a day 28 hours long, right?
For this patent, we had to find an overlapping product and our main focus was to find a product owned by some renowned company that has a really good market value so that the client could get better value out of it.
To summarize the patent, it was talking about –
- An online conversation between two individuals, like the ones on Whatsapp or Instagram DM;
- The conversation should be in one window;
- There should be a log of the chat transcript at the server-side; and
- In the transcript, the message should be categorized as text or audio based on its type.
Ayushi knew that the first few clauses are easier to map since we have all been using applications of the same sort like Whatsapp, Messenger, Skype, et cetera. She was easily able to map the first few clauses. However, this implies covering 50% of the patent claim and the remaining 50% was still un-mapped which had left her inconclusive.
The main problem here was that she were not able to extract the chat transcript from this application or from any of the other platforms. Transcripts are logged at the server-side and she cannot contact the customer support executives to get a copy.
If the product was a semiconductor device, an OLED or a tech that could be reverse-engineered by signal analysis, it might have been easier, since we’ve worked on such projects before. But we were dealing with a software application, which we cannot teardown into parts and analyze if it matches our patent claims. So here she had to find the transcript— it was the only way to prove the claim.
Ayushi, young and new to this domain, was persistent that there’s definitely a way to find the transcript, she was pretty sure about it. Her determination made Aditi risk the time strain and allow her to work some extra hours.
Ayushi started with developer’s forums. She had remembered Aditi quoting this in a previous project:
“This is where you can find certain things which you might not find while you normally search on Google. There are some insider things that you might not get on Google search.”
So she searched on the forum, every possible keyword close to a transcript, but couldn’t find a thing.
We had employed all the traditional methodologies and yet had nothing of the rest 50% so far. We knew that without it, we were left with two options:
- We could either drop the project and tell the client that we’ve got nothing; or
- We tell him our assumptions on the overlap and try to convince him that it overlaps without explicitly providing him with any proof (as we didn’t have any!)
But Ayushi wasn’t ready for either of the two!
So she decided to spend another day on the project – Saturday. With all the mixed emotions, our excitement for the weekend was lost.
“I knew there was no way to directly approach to any of the application’s developer team and get the transcript out, so I thought of getting into it the other way and look what’s inside and draw if not exact at least some conclusion out. My approach was to download the chat somehow and then see what it has for us?”
– Ayushi, Research Analyst, Patent Infringement
At this point, almost everyone was thinking about giving up and picking another patent to work on. Everyone but Ayushi. Although a bit afraid about the risks she was taking as a newly joined RA, Ayushi was quite sure she could find something. She just had to look round the corner, maybe reverse some steps back or walk back a bit.
So she continued her research to see if chat could be exported with message categories/tags. She found the option of “export chat” but wasn’t sure if it will include tags. But it was worth a try, so she exported the chat with fingers crossed. After a few minutes of wait, she had the chat transcript opened on the screen in a notepad.
You know the feeling when you are just about to complete a long race, those emotions of happiness overflowing, and the adrenaline rush?
Ayushi was in the same state, her fingers still crossed. But as soon as she started deciphering the codes, she realized that this transcript is not from one specific chat, but a transcript of all the conversations she has ever had with anyone since she had made her profile on this app (and it was a lot to look at!).
At this point, there was no going back or giving up. So she immediately went to Aditi and updated her with the situation at hand.
“She had reinstated our belief in the overlapping of the patent; we knew that if we sort this one last thing, we’ll find out what we’ve been looking for. And we also knew that this particular obstacle does not challenge our hard work, but instead how smartly we can figure our way out in the short span of time that was left with us.”
– Aditi, Senior Research Analyst, Patent Infringement
After a short discussion, they came out with a perfect plan.
It was the simplest of all. She just had to look for someone who does not have an account. The best part is she didn’t have to look any further than Aditi herself. So, they immediately made a profile for her and then Ayushi and Aditi constructed a short chat on it.
Once Aditi exported the chat, everyone eagerly started waiting for the chat to download, constantly hoping that this was it. This is where we close this case and rejoice. Although, one way or another we had to close it, this was our best shot and we knew we were in the right direction.
As soon as the chat transcript opened, we found something like this:
Do you know what that means?
They looked at each other, faces full of happiness and relief. All the clauses on the patent checklist were struck off.
“Yes, we can definitely use this, I had said. They didn’t come to me with a problem, not even a mere solution that could help me work further. Instead, they came to me with a result and I must say, I was already impressed.”
-Rohit Sood, Manager, Patent Infringement
And with that, the shady clouds of uncertainties had finally evanesced and we were happy we didn’t waste our precious time for nothing. The path ahead was as colorful as a rainbow now, and with the rest of the patents all checked and confirmed, Rohit arranged a meeting with the client.
The word around is the meeting went really well and Ayushi was glad her efforts yielded the results to her desire. When asked the thought process, she had behind the search she quipped –
“I kept hearing from everyone here that “If it exists, we will find it” is in our cultural DNA and witnessed this saying in action everywhere around me. I realized these people don’t simply preach, and to truly become one of them, I have to develop the same attitude towards work. Today, I think I have succeeded in my endeavor. “
Authored by: Nidhi, Research Analyst, in collaboration with Ayushi Roy, Research Analyst, Patent Infringement.