Open Password - Mittwoch, den 29. Mai 2019

# 568

 

Ann Chapman – Information Professional des Jahres – Minesoft – Open Password – Erfolgsgeschichte – Christoph Aschoff – Peter Müller-Bader – Patentämter – Informationskonzerne – Patent Professionals – Retention Rates – Customer Service – China – SIPO – PatBase – IPPH – USPTO – Japan – Korea – EPO – Non-Latin Language Search – Russian – Hebrew – Patent Applications per GDP – France – UK – India – RWS – Vertical Tool Modification – Data Quality – Usability – Completeness – PatDocs – PatBase Express – PAT-KM – Dissemination – Knowledge Management – Training – API´s – Chemical Explorer – TextMine

 

Ann Chapman (Minesoft):

Information Professional
des Jahres 2018/2019
für ihre Lebensleistung

One of the Highest Client Retention Rates
by Unlimited Customer Service


Adding an enhancement requested by a customer
in the morning by mid-afternoon,
making it available worldwide

Ann sits with Reinhard Ottway, the former CEO of RWS (Minesoft´s partners in the development pf PatBase), a well known face in the patent translation field in Germany.

(Br) Ann Chapman wird von Open Password für ihre Lebensleistung als Information Professional des Jahres 2018/2019 ausgezeichnet - im Besonderen dafür,

• dass sie als eine der Pionierinnen die Online-Branche in jungen Jahren an verantwortlichen Stellen vorangebracht und einiges von der Begeisterung und dem Enthusiasmus, der seinerzeit unseren Wissenschafts- und Wirtschaftsbereich kennzeichnete, in die Gegenwart rettete;

• dass sie ihre persönliche, berufliche, wirtschaftliche und institutionelle Erfolgsgeschichte über die Jahrzehnte fortgeschrieben hat und eine der besten Beispiele dafür ist, dass nachhaltige Success Stories auch in unserer Branche nach wie vor möglich sind;

• dass sie mit der Gründung von Minesoft am Küchentisch am Punkt Null begann und im Vertrauen auf die eigene Kompetenz eine Risikobereitschaft zeigte, die sie zum Vorbild auch für die heutigen Start ups werden ließ;

• dass sie in den folgenden Phasen auf sich gestellt eine “Geschichte vom Schuhputzer zum Millionär” schrieb, wie wir sie aus Deutschland nur von den GBI-Gründern Christoph Aschoff und Peter Müller-Bader kennen, dies allerdings im persönlichen Stil mit einer größeren “britischen” sachbetonten Zurückhaltung und ohne einen erkennbaren Willen, irgendwann Kasse zu machen und das eigene Unternehmen an einen der Informationskonzerne zu verkaufen;

• dass sie sich weder von den Informationskonzernen noch von den freien Angeboten der Patentämter einschüchtern ließ, vielmehr Minesoft fest in seiner Marktnische etablierte und mit einer kontinuierlichen Kette an Innovationen, die an die Frühzeit der Online-Branche erinnert, den Sektor der Patentinformationen voranbrachte und die Informationsversorgung der Patent Professionals und des Managements in Patentfragen verbesserte – Muss uns erst ein britisches Unternehmen zeigen, wie wichtig der selbstständige Mittelstand auch in der Informationsbranche ist?;

• dass sie mit der überaus weitgehenden Orientierung von Minesoft an den Wünschen der Kunden und der Etablierung einer “offenen Kultur” unter den Beschäftigten auch zu einem Leitbild für Kundenbeziehungen und Personalpolitik wurde und

• dass man mit Ann Chapman immer über alles sprechen kann und dass für sie der “Blick über den Tellerrand” eine Selbstverständlichkeit war und geblieben ist.

Nachdem ich mittlerweile mehr als vierzig Jahre immer wieder eng mit Ann Chapman zusammengearbeitet habe, die Gespräche mit ihr immer genoss und sie mir immer wieder auf eine Weise half, die weit über das hinausging, was man hätte erwarten können, gilt ihr auch mein ganz persönlicher von Herzen kommender Dank.

Im Gespräch mit Open Password nimmt die Gründerin und Geschäftsführerin von Minesoft zu ihrem persönlichen Werdegang, zu der Entwicklung des Anbieters von Patentinformationslösungen und zur Lage der Information Professionals Stellung.

Part III

How are you managing the rapid increase in Asian patent information? China has been confirmed as an increasingly important jurisdiction to monitor for new families and applications with almost half of all applications being filed at the SIPO. With PatBase’s Neural Machine translation framework, users can access and interpret this Chinese full text data via swift and efficient machine translation. In addition, we have also formed a partnership with the commercial arm of the Chinese Patent office: The Intellectual Property Publishing house (IPPH) will be supplying our products in China, having already established itself as a leading provider of Chinese patent data and information solutions. The State Intellectual property of China (SIPO) received the majority of applications, double the number of applications received by the USPTO (the next office in the top rankings). In total, SIPO received 1.38 million applications. The USPTO totalled 606,956 over the same period.

Japan’s Patent Office came third with 318,479, followed by the Korean Intellectual property office with 204,775 applications and the European Patent Office (EPO) with 166,585. Taken together these offices account for 84.5% of the 2017 world total. This represents a significant increase over their 2007 share of 75.2%, giving the top 5 a 10% larger share of the total than ten years ago. The majority of this growth has been taken from SIPO, which alone accounts for 43.5% of the total filings in 2017, with the other top 5 offices’ share declining over the same period despite all showing growth in applications received.

The top technology field for 2017 remained computing. (To see an in-depth analysis of the patenting trends in cyber security last year, you can download Minesoft’s whitepaper here.)

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Developing the First Non-Latin Language Search Capability - Search Engine in Russian and Hebrew Coming.

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The report also includes an assessment of “patent activity intensity” indicators, showing patenting activity whilst taking into account variables such as GDP, R&D spending, population size and other variables. This gives results normalised for economic power and development and compares nation patent activity on a more even playing field.

Using these figures, the Republic of Korea has the highest number of patent applications per unit of GDP, with China at the second highest ratio, followed by Japan, Germany and Switzerland. Other than China, the ratio of these top 5 countries has declined or remained static this year, with only China showing an improvement in application efficiency per unit of GDP.

On the same scale, France and the UK hold the 14th and 15th positions respectively, with France dropping down one place and the UK remaining in position relative to last year’s figures.

The number of patents granted by the Indian Patent office has grown by 50% over the same period in 2016, although this office retains a high rate of abandonment, with over half of the applications examined this year resulting in a withdrawal or abandonment of the application.

Minesoft covers patents from Japan, China, Korea, India, Taiwan, Thailand and other Asian countries, adding the expertise from RWS on the translation side. Minesoft designed and developed the first non-Latin language search capability (for other character sets such as Mandarin Chinese) for patent information and remains a leader in this area. We are about to offer a new search engine with enhanced capability for searching Asian languages and indeed other character sets such as Hebrew or Russian. That will be an interesting launch to watch out for!

 

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Carving its Niche Between Patent Office und Private Competitor by Tool Modification.
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How has Minesoft managed to carve its niche between free patent data from the major Patent Offices such as the EPO and USPTO and the large companies also competing in your space?Today, all manner of users want easy-to-query databases and the ability to seamlessly create everything from board level presentations to detailed invalidity reports. Search and analytics platforms need to allow users to quickly go from initial query to intelligent graphical output, just as easily as to create search results ready to submit to worldwide patent offices. We have worked to constantly innovate our platforms to allow professional searchers as well as business executives to quickly gain the ability to answer business critical questions in the timeliest manner. Search platforms should be built for users, by users, irrespective of what background these user communities have. Minesoft tries to manage the balance between development cycles, through listening to clients’ feedback.

An example of this is vertical specific tool modification. For instance, Minesoft has developed tools for people in the biotech, chemical and life sciences area which range from the automation of text extraction and association, to the ability to easily draw chemical structures for search input. The key behind attaining and maintaining a strong patent portfolio is having access to comprehensive patent data. It is a niche industry but a competitive one, in which Minesoft stays ahead of rivals by ensuring that the data is available in our online patent search, analysis and monitoring tools in a reliably and timely manner as well as improving the quality of searching possibilities and workflow in patent data. Starting with high-quality data is crucial to the accuracy and precision of any patent search and analysis. If the underlying data used is unreliable then no end result using that data can be trusted. The data quality in PatBase is maintained by a close working relationship with the big 5 patent offices - especially the EPO - and many others, whose data we take feeds of directly, making thousands of error corrections to the data we receive and combining it with additional information as well as enhancing the original data (e.g. with standardised translations of company names such as Chinese, Japanese) to add quality to the end product.

Meeting the Queen in 2009 as recipients of the Queen´s Award for Enterprise for the first time, a testament to the outstanding achievements from Minesoft in rapidly growing export markets in the field of intellectual property information.

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What you see is what you get, in unlimited amounts.
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What are the major challenges you confronted while establishing your position in the market and what kind of mixed responses have you received from your customers over the years? It is important to understand that gaining a client is one thing. Keeping them is another.

Minesoft has one of the highest client retention rates in the industry, something we have always taken pride in and invested time and energy in to make it possible. Relationships are important in this business.

One way is via unlimited customer service by highly trained, industry experienced success teams. Ensuring a client gets the most out of their subscription is important so we take the time to make sure clients fully understand system and data capabilities with unlimited training. What you see is what you get, in unlimited amounts. We have been known to add an enhancement requested by a customer in the morning by mid-afternoon, making it available worldwide. We have many happy emails from users on this topic.  By not restricting the sharing or distribution of information internally or to counsel, Minesoft also puts more value and power in the hands of customer who in turn tend to stay with the company longer.

Occasionally a customer does leave us but has been known to return less than a year later due to data quality or usability issues elsewhere. Clients in the patent world understand how important data cleanliness, accuracy and completeness is and it is always good to know when we are doing a better job on the searchability side, as well as listening and responding to where we need to do better.

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To serve a database very differently to diverse and dispersed user groups.

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How far spread is Minesoft’s clientele and where do you see yourself a couple of years from now? As noted, the types of people who use our solutions can vary hugely, from where they are on an executive level, the area of industry they might come from, and where on the IP lifecycle they sit. Whilst Minesoft is probably best known for PatBase, a professional patent search and analytics system, we have clients so far spread that many never actually need to conduct a complex search themselves. For example, legal operations professions who may be paralegals require access to clean data but for entirely different purposes.

As such we introduced a new product called PatDocs in late 2018 which provides fully automated patent family trees, the ability to instantly create a fully filled in SB-08 information disclosure document (ready for PTO submission), the ability to download any number of patent PDFs (in bulk or individually) within seconds and the ability to create a sharable work product between colleagues or between inside and outside counsel.

R&D is also a huge area of focus for Minesoft where unlimited corporate/departmental wide access to an express based search system (PatBase Express) as well as a fully integrated workflow tool called Pat-KM which links legal, business and R&D professionals within a framework to simplify and manage internal IP knowledge.

The point is once you have such a database, you need to be able to serve it very differently to diverse and dispersed user groups. One size cannot fit all in patent data dissemination and the associated knowledge management thereof.

 

To answer the question of how spread the client base is, it is completely global, and we usually see the most embedded level of systems in the largest global organisations and law firms.

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Minesoft: The Future Roadmap.
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Please tell us about future roadmap of the company. How do you plan to incorporate new technologies to make patent solution more efficient?  Companies can utilise IP knowledge management systems to facilitate knowledge sharing within multiple business units – even across borders. Monitoring new documents and information, adding additional information internally (where necessary) and then indexing, classifying and distributing information directly to the interested parties within an organisation. All employees can access the influx of new patent applications from around the world, whatever their level of IP expertise, with access to a shared system. Pat-KM can be used not only to capture, archive and disseminate valuable IP data but also as a training tool to get employees to a point where IP is embedded into all thought processes, from the launch of a product to the beginning of a new project. Minesoft has many years of experience working closely with corporate clients and their attorneys, the API’s we offer are an extension of our other services. All our services remain secure, data is encrypted and held behind firewalls both ends of the transaction.

But a company is not going to want to hold 125 million patent documents themselves, just like they cannot hold all the libraries in the world in house or all the financial information they need in house. However much they might wish to, the point is that there is always a lot of work to be done on the accuracy and cleanliness of the original data and adding to it.  It does not remain static and certainly not in the field of patents, where the patent family is extremely important and grows over the 20-year life of an initial invention filing.  Obviously, there is always a need for data to be held externally – these days, more and more corporate data of all kinds might be in the Cloud for instance. We feed data to companies and they can also get access to our secure servers to extract the data they need. Sometimes we build a product for their API or they may have an internal project team needing a chunk of data for further analysis. We can offer a high degree of flexibility in our bespoke services and the API facility enables us to think of more niche areas we can fulfil.

We review the technology options all the time, as you can imagine. New software development is going on every day.  Sometimes small tools and modules can make a big difference in speeding up the search and review of patent data. We try out new ideas and new technology solutions – recently a bigger development for us was Chemical Explorer, a datamining solution for searching chemicals in the full text of patent documents. A text mining solution, we developed TextMine as a viewer for chemical patents and added it to PatBase at the same time as adding chemical structure searching to Chemical Explorer. TextMine enables users to view not only chemical related information but also to locate physical properties in patent documents.

Please read in the last part of the interview with Ann Chapman: Starting from scratch around the kitchen table – Sometimes you just have to get lucky in life! – Relaxed informal hierarchy and close co-coperation between London and Neuss – What information professionals should do

 

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