Intellectual property (IP) refers to anything formed by the human mind that is granted the same rights accompanying tangible or personal property. The IP’s creator is the only one to obtain these rights. They function under statutory law on either or both the state and federal level.
There are four main types of Intellectual Property, one of which is a patent. Patents exist to protect property rights to original inventions for individuals or entities. A patent does not exist at the moment of creation but must be granted by a governing body. In the United States, this body is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some basic details about patents to keep in mind include:
Ideas are not patented, only identifiable/tangible methods or edifices
A patent-worthy invention must be new.
A patent-worthy invention must not be evident. This means it must innovate beyond what a person of average skill could create.
A patent-worthy invention must be useful. This means it must have a current, beneficial, and significant use as a machine, manufacturing method, process, or composition of matter, or be an improvement of one.
BoardActive CEO & Founder, Doug Pittman, and Founders Legal Partner & Patent Attorney, Yuri Eliezer, recently sat down together on the podcast, Simple Tech Talk to talk over the recent patent, what it took to get there, and what this means for the future. We took some of their best points and broke down the “need to know” for you.
Q: The first question and one on everyone’s mind is – how the small guy beat out the big guys for a patent of this value?
Eliezer: [It was a tremendous vision, foresight into where the industry was heading, and an excellent team behind Doug. Early-stage companies get excited and jump into securing an IP patent. Time needs to be put in with research. Most visions are not patentable at version one. Companies need to look at their landscape and invest time so money and effort aren’t wasted working towards a patent that cannot be secured.] Do the due diligence. This is when I knew Doug was a good fit. He was willing to adapt and put resources towards the research and homework that would make this [idea] patentable and successful.
Pittman knew this was the right move. A lot of changes had to happen, though. In order to be successful, a hard decision was made. People were let go and the entire product was revamped to fit the path of a patentable idea. Many long nights of brainstorming occurred to make this happen.
Pittman states, “I knew [Yuri] was right, but it was frustrating. When a patent attorney gives you advice - you listen. It’s the law regardless of whether it makes sense to you or me.”
Q: How do you know when you have a patentable product?
Eliezer: [Doug looked at all entrants in the space, including the patents that were happening in the industry. Lots of companies make a mistake at looking at a patent for the product that they have today. Patents last 20 years. You need to look ahead of the game for a patent. Be niche and focused. We had brainstorm sessions to see where our IP could take us. Where is the industry headed - holographic ads, tv, billboard, watch, virtual reality glasses? Doug left no stone unturned. 5 years out, 10 years out. That is what the IP needs to cover.] [Capture the vision of the product – function, and features, not the current status of the product.]
The current patent relates to the earlier vision of Doug Pittman, but the patent examiner said she has seen companies that drop ads to a phone from a billboard. BoardActive’s new vision made sense and we saw a clear path to getting patent claims by making a few key changes.
Differentiate the claims as unique. Eliezer states, “Adjustments we made were the appropriate ones to stand alone and get the issuance through. A lot of back and forth with the office to make it work.”
So, what is the BoardActive vision in regard to the patent?
Retargeting is an important aspect heading to the point of sale. Track all assets and who is in the area relative to that. What are they doing after they receive promotions? How do we engage with a customer and redirect them or change their behavior? These are huge questions that the marketers of the world need an answer to. Attribution is key.
The BoardActive vision delivers communication from companies to users as they pass through or enter certain predetermined locations. Whether it’s passing a billboard on the interstate, entering a shopping mall, or leaving a sporting event – a perfectly timed message in the right location will change everything for marketers.
Learn about user’s buying habits and location behavior, and deliver data to the stores for them to use for a more successful marketing campaign that isn’t aimed at the masses, but personalized for higher conversion rates.
Eliezer says it well, “Online behavior data and internet tracking is huge and all over. It is used by every major website and helps [consumers] make decisions regularly. BA makes that happen in the real world. Imagine you have a personal injury attorney ad on the side of a bus. You could know who is in the presence of the bus. Addrop (like dropping a cookie) can track their activity after seeing the ad on the bus. These are enabled physical touches that stay with them after they enter a space and follow them to the point of sale.”
More than dropping an ad from a billboard to a phone or car. What happens next?
The BoardActive vision answers the questions:
How do we interact with a user?
What do they do next?
How can we adjust [brand to consumer] interaction based on where they go and what they do next?
What direction are they going and what is their motion?
Does the interaction change their decisions?
Are they going to a specific place?
A driver is heading down the interstate heading North. They pass a billboard with a fast-food ad. They continue North and they go to the fast food place on the billboard. Wouldn’t the store like to know that? The patent covers this subject matter and more.
Eliezer states, “Research found dropping content is not our innovation. It’s the interaction with users and the data and analytics provided to the business to gauge the effectiveness of their physical marketing resources and assets.”
This solution is not just for mobile phone apps, though that is the main customer for BoardActive. Any mobile device – a laptop, a smartwatch, phone, headphones, tablet, AR glasses, smart car. The phone is the most relatable device, but it doesn’t stop there. 3D, holographic, virtual reality, augmented reality – the patent filings added so many things to ensure the future of marketing is featured within the IP claim.
Q: How will BoardActive go forward with this new patent in their offerings?
Pittman: [My goal is always to protect the investors, the IP, and the employees. I have built a foundation that will succeed as a company, and it was a tremendous experience to work with Yuri on how to do this. We strategized for months on the possible litigation we will face, and how we will handle partnerships. 75% of all patents are denied in the US. That is crazy to me. So I knew a patent strategy was needed to make sure we are on target with licensing. Yuri was really well paid, and he was worth every penny.]
Eliezer: “Protecting IP is meant to protect you and your customers. The top priority is to make excellent partners and build and foster the future of the industry. Use our rights when necessary. Some people play unfairly and now we have recourse. Now, that is an option on the table.
Q: Why will a big company want to work with or acquire a small company?
Eliezer: [Human resources and intellectual capital insured by IP patents. The small companies can’t compete with the channel partners, revenue, or customer base of a large company. They can, however, compete with the ideas and the vision. That is what the patent system is all about. Enables early-stage companies, the under-resourced great minds, on a level playing field with big guys. A patent portfolio is a lot of leverage for something like this.]
“There are many companies out there who will be interested in mutually beneficial opportunities. They will take a look at our patent portfolio and work together using the IP Doug has developed in BoardActive.”
This patent is described by global executives as the most powerful award in decades. The implications are astounding and will impact every business vertical moving forward. To hear more of this informative interview check out the podcast. For a one on one talk about partnership opportunities, reach out today.