Meet the Transform Cohort 2 Startups: Markison Patent Portal
- Tim Markison – CEO, Co-chairman, & Cofounder
- Dave Fallon – COO & Cofounder
- Dave Larsen – Chief SW Architect
- Jesse Woghin – Principal Product Manager
- Jim Dugan – Co-chairman & Cofounder
What does your company do?
MPP’s mission is to revolutionize the business of patents via a suite of patent Software as a Service (SaaS) products that we’re in the process of developing.
Our patent SaaS products overcome the limitations of the current patent process to significantly increase the value, quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of patents for every business that’s affected by patents. Venture capital firms, private equity firms, investment banks, technology companies, law firms, in-house counsel, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and paralegal services will greatly benefit from MPP’s revolutionary patent SaaS products.
With respect to the current patent process, MPP noticed the following issues:
- It works, but it is compartmentalized, inefficient, and wasteful;
- Does not address how many patents one needs or how protect to the full breadth and scope of a technology
- No quality standards for preparation and prosecution to ensure patents have value; as such, about 50% of issued patents have significant quality issues that render them useless;
- Acquiesces to a general lack of understanding of the business value of patents.
As a result, most small companies under patent protect their technology, meaning that a majority of their novel innovations are donated to the public. Thus, small companies don’t own their novel innovations, which dramatically reduces their potential overall value by tens-to-hundreds of millions of dollars. At the same time, large companies over-patent their technology and just live with the waste.
Preventing the above scenarios is one of MPP’s primary objectives. To accomplish this, we start with our proprietary database of Product-Technology Units (PTUs) — a quantified piece of technology that is defined based on its productization, unique valuation propositions, uses, functions, and technical challenges it addresses — which is the core of MPP’s product.
MPP leverages PTUs to:
- Identify market differentiating technology;
- Determine the level of innovation, disruption, present and future market impact and value, and full breadth and scope of the technology;
- Generate a patent protection plan to maximize value;
- Track execution of the plan;
- Ensure quality of patent application preparation and prosecution as the plan is executed;
- Improve efficiency and quality of patent examination by the United States Patent & Trademark Office;
- Improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of patent licensing and patent litigation;
- Identify patent sales, patent purchases, and/or other patent exploitation opportunities.
Our SaaS products are designed to help companies increase their overall value as they transition from conception through sustained market success.
How did you get the idea?
In 1996, Tim was asked by a client, “How many patents do I need?” In response, he gave the standard patent attorney answer: enough to have a decent defensive patent position and more to have a decent offensive position.
The client responded, “I’ve heard that answer for decades, I want to know a specific number and why that number.” Tim had no answer and it bothered him.
Tim searched for an answer to this seemingly simple question, but there wasn’t one. The best answer was a general rule of thumb: spend about 10% of the R&D budget on patents.
Tim began developing his own answer and soon realized to provide a meaningful answer, the entire patent process needed to be reinvented and the philosophical approach needed to change. So, that’s what he did.
In 2009, Tim met Jim Dugan, CEO and founding managing partner of OCA Ventures; Chris Gladwin, CEO and founder of Cleversafe; and additional Cleversafe Board members via mutual contacts. Tim pitched his new patent process and philosophy to them and they ultimately agreed to invest in Tim’s novel patent approach.
And it worked! Cleversafe was acquired by IBM in 2015 for $1.4B and IBM attributed $1B of acquisition value to Cleversafe’s patent portfolio; and during deal diligence, they reiterated that the patent portfolio was pivotal to the acquisition.
What are you most excited for as part of Transform?
We’re thrilled to be associated with such a prestigious university as the University of Chicago. It’s an honor to have been selected to Transform and to have access to world-class professionals from the university and from the Transform program.
What do you hope to get out of the Transform program?
We have already benefited tremendously from Transform. For instance, the mentor engagement sessions have helped us to more fully understand our clients’ purchasing processes, to refine our go-to-market strategy, and to reconsider our tiered pricing structure for VC & PE firms, tech companies, tech transfer offices, and other clients. Moreover, our interactions with the other Transform teams have helped to frame our total addressable market and resulted in tremendous professional relationships. At the conclusion of Transform, MPP expects to be more fully prepared to bring its beta platform to market, to recruit and scale the team, and to more confidently raise its series seed round of financing.
Housed within the Polsky Center’s Deep Tech Ventures initiative, Transform provides full-spectrum support for the data science and AI startups accepted into the accelerator, including access to business and technical training, industry mentorship, venture capital connections, and funding opportunities. To learn about the other teams, click the links below.