Intellectual property management system
For our latest Success Story, we discussed intellectual property with Evgeniy Pen, co-founder of the Unified Depository of Intellectual Activity Results. Evgeniy told us how companies could earn additional income from IP, offered some quick and affordable ways to protect code, and shared his insight on the Russian IP market today (spoiler: the situation is bad).
Our company was founded in 2015 when a few factors all came to a head: we received a number of consultation requests regarding intellectual property. I joined up with an associate: me specializing in intellectual property, and he in IT. We understood that we needed a more interesting approach to addressing these requests.
We started to make an intellectual property management system within the company—independent software. We realized that without any kind of public platform, it would not be very interesting, so we decided to create the Unified Depository of Intellectual Activity Results.
Now we have an actual depository, copyright registration, certification, a search engine, database, online IP object assessment—this is something unique; as far as I know, nobody and no other service offers anything like this. Our patent base alone has over 9 million entries.
We sell software for keeping proper records of intellectual property, and the edrid.ru platform exists to help people, mostly individuals, protect their copyrights and maybe even make money from them. Say you like to write poetry. You can submit your poems, mark them as your property, say that they belong to you, and even that you are ready to sell the rights to them. Or say you want to register the Success Story trademark; you can go to a patent office and pay them from 15 to 70 thousand rubles, or do it yourself on our site for 4,990 rubles plus fees. It’s something like a multiservice center for intellectual property.
Or say you write a program; there are two ways to go about protecting it: either go to the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent), which takes about three months and costs 6-7 thousand rubles, or submit it on our site, which costs 1,200 rubles and takes just a few days.
People are trying to patent different thing, even limericks. You can protect a recipe for shawarma, if it is good; it would just be hard to catch someone using it. Just for fun though, and why not? Your own patented shawarma recipe. Pay 1,200 rubles and get a nice certificate you can hang on the wall.
But in general, the IP market in Russia is in its infancy; it is uncharted territory. This is the largest market in the world, hundreds of billions of dollars, but we have less than 0.01% of that.
For most companies, IP is accounted for as an actual expense, which is to say tens of thousands of rubles. Often, a major factory brand that turns out hundreds of millions of rubles is valued at, say, five thousand rubles. The proper assessment may find it worth tens of millions, but nobody does this. And this is just for one object. Any major company could have a multitude of objects.
1С doesn’t keep records of intellectual property—immaterial company assets—or it uses a strict accounting format: entries.
We seek out companies, like factories, and suggest they contact us. We perform an audit, find objects, reassess them, and, if the factory’s capital was 30 million rubles before, then it could be 300 million afterwards. This also improves the bookkeeping structure as it can all be monetized in the future. Objects can be patents, inventor’s certificates, know-how, prototypes, developments, etc.
Imagine modern machine tools with computer numerical control. There are a lot of these kinds of tools, but to turn out elegant metalware, what do you need? Software. Someone who knows how to cut needs to sit down with someone who knows how to program and take a month to write a program. But when you ask the boss, he says, “We don’t have any intellectual property.” “Wait, but you do have software?” If an employee who earns, say 30 thousand, takes two months to write a program, then it is already worth sixty thousand. It is not a secret, the hardware is practically the same in every factory.
So why not go to another factory and sell them your software for 100 thousand? They will be happy to save two months of development, and you will be happy to have yours compensated. This is intellectual property on the market. In addition to software, there are instructions, methods, presentations…this is all intellectual property. The main question is: Does anyone else need it?
For example, the St.Petersburg-based company Okeanos used our management system to register two elements of “know-how” worth 80 million rubles in the field of underwater robotics: technology for manufacturing autonomous underwater gliders and electric underwater manipulators.
Our clients are primarily manufacturers and scientific organizations with hundreds of employees. It can be any research institute or engineering company. We serve private and federal organizations. By the way, this is now a government trend: developing the intellectual property market. It is the right thing to be doing. For example, the value of Apple’s intellectual property is worth a few times more than Gazprom with all of its buildings, platforms, and stadiums.
In May 2018, we launched a copyright registration service that uses Ethereum-based blockchain technology: we record and store copyright information in a distributed registry.
Traditional and blockchain systems duplicate themselves—this significantly raises reliability and security. Ethereum is independent storage; you can safeguard your rights in any country without being tied to a local authority.
Registered object entries are saved indefinitely; you can search the registry by hash, and license sales and transfers are instantly reflected in the system.
The Russian market is tough now: not everyone realizes that it is necessary; property owners put things off for long time and deals drag on for months and even years. All of our activity now is the result of work from a year and a half or a year of ago.
Our model was initially cloud-oriented; we knew that what we were doing would grow exponentially and that no good would come from leaving things on our hardware.
The cloud infrastructure blew up and became too expensive. But by that time we had figured out what it was we needed and decided to order a dedicated server.
Additionally, we had stuck with one provider, but performed a security audit and decided to tweak our infrastructure a bit. We gained recognition in the market and realized someone might try to “take us down”. We took measures to prepare for this: we spread our infrastructure out over multiple data centers. Our service is based on the government model—we register the company and copyrights. This is why durability is very important to us.
We chose Selectel because we were already familiar with their services; we had used Cloud Storage before and considered them a stable provider. We compared other offers, and when considering the ratio of price to quality, we chose Selectel Dedicated Servers.
Part of our services have been hosted at Selectel since September 2017: backups in Cloud Storage and our main website engine on a dedicated server. We like to think that we chose a solution that lets us develop at our own pace. Even now we can say that we have saved considerably and have come out on top in terms of performance.