John Wise, CEO and founder of Loci, a company seeking to simplify the patent search and invention process, recently presented at World Blockchain Forum London. Loci is one of not so many companies going into their token sale with a market ready product called InnVenn.
Having a background in automotive engineering, John Wise saw the challenges of the current patent process firsthand and, consequently, decided to start Loci to eventually tackle some of the endemic patenting process-connected problems. The tagline in Loci’s whitepaper reads:
“Loci’s mission is to change the way we all innovate and the value of ideas as a whole.”
The interface of their DIY patent research platform provides a set of Venn diagram representations with prior inventions displayed as dots. This helps discover ‘whitespace’ between them, allowing inventors to find fertile ground for ideas and speed up their research process.
The patent industry exists in numerous forms, sometimes for the benefit of inventors, in other cases to enforce monopoly. Getting an idea protected has never been more lucrative and necessary than today, especially given radical openness the internet has provided to both Patent Licensees to Patent Infringers.
At the same time, this radical openness played its role in the uprise of patent trolls, corporate patent wars accompanied with massive backlogs from the side of the US Patent Office. The number of applications for patents in all categories have skyrocketed, putting United States Patent and Trademark Office workers in positions of having to check 10,000 pages of material per day. For most young companies, waiting for confirmation up to seven years and spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees for a patent to be accepted, isn’t worth the hassle or capital.
In this regard project’s whitepaper reads:
“The global invention process is fundamentally flawed, creating an unnecessarily chaotic and risky innovation landscape characterized by wasteful research and development spending. This process, convoluted and fraught with expense, inherently stifles progress. Legally protecting an idea is essential, but the patent process is difficult and expensive, and many inventors are forced to go straight to market or never follow through their invention.”
For the context, Loci is not alone on this battleground: Creative Commons Licencing and others are going up against movements like Open source, attempting to shake up the monolithic patenting infrastructure. However Loci’s use of a distributed immutable database – one of the primary use cases for blockchain tech – allows both the inventor and corporations to reap the benefits of new business models and legal arrangements.
The way Loci seeks to implement its plans by registering search results, time stamps, unique user IDs, and relevant ‘prior art’ to the blockchain. All these is crucial for transparency and legally defensible right for ownership of an idea. This immutable public disclosure takes advantage of current patent law, which grants the inventor a 12-month period during which they have exclusive rights either to patent or to sell their idea.
Inventors can sell their ideas on their own or as part of an ‘investment pool’ to corporations and investment banks looking to build an IP portfolio. The main aim behind the project is to shorten patent process by providing a source of inventive ideas for those, most capable of developing these inventions, while rewarding inventors for the work and creativity – all within the LOCIcoin ecosystem.
Using an innovative ‘ecosystem-by-design’ approach in their tokenomics, Loci’s investment pools will become purchasable with LOCIcoins, which can be bought from a publicly traded pool. Then, instead of burning these coins, they get recycled and “rain back down to the inventors” on a weighted basis depending on the number of inventions they have hosted on the platform. By the way in case of gridlock, John Wise holds himself legally liable and responsible for releasing some tokens to stimulate the market.
Still, taking into consideration recently announced ICO’s delay and very few disclosed details about the system’s legal basis, the team still has a lot to prove. In addition, $249/month price may currently be out of reach for some sole-traders and young start-ups to fully engage, given absence of legal ratification. At the same time, $3000/year for access to patent research and application services pales in comparison with the tens of thousands, currently necessary to get a patent. This will be a welcome change for an industry steeped in tradition, precedent and, of course, prestige.
Loci’s token sale, with HardCap making $19M, is scheduled for December 2017, and will include four rounds: from exclusive first round with net price $0.33 to the fourth final round with net price constituting as much as $0.75. Base rate makes $2.50 for all the rounds.
According to the project’s website, tokens will be distributed as follows: 50% of total 100M LOCIcoin issued will be allocated to launch supporters, 34% will be used to purchase IP and reward platform users, 11% will go to team, advisors and partners, and the remaining 5% will make non-profit fund.
Loci’s token sale will be live during the period of December, 6 to December, 31, or untill the HardCap is reached.