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The Wild World of Patents and Search: Staking Your Claim to Intellectual Property

Have you ever experienced that moment of insight where the lightbulb goes off and a new invention is born in your mind? From the shower to the store and everywhere in between, a genius idea can strike at any time. On this episode, we talk to Sam Baxter, Chief Technology Officer at IP.com to talk about these lightning bolt moments and the world of intellectual property.

IP.com has brought the world of intellectual property into the modern age with innovative tools and processes for the 21st century. In the IT world, invention and innovation drive the industry forward and Sam is at the forefront of the latest and greatest. Patents, ideas and the Semantic Map are all on the table for this episode. We’ll also cover the transformation of IP from physical to digital, the role of algorithms in search and the language of legal documents.

 

References and Resources

IP.com

Semantic Search: Cognitive Retrieval and Semantic Mapping

Branching Out with Corporate Tree

Advanced Communication Solutions from Frontier Business

 

Contact Our Guest Expert

Connect with Sam on LinkedIn

 

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Host Skip Lineberg

Subscribe via iTunes

 

Podcast Transcription

Man: Welcome to “Gain Your Edge,” the podcast created for IT professionals, business owners, and leaders looking to sharpen their edge over the competition. Our ever-perceptive host, Skip Lineberg, introduces you to industry thought leaders. Listen and learn from their insights as Skip gets inside the minds of our guest gurus revealing new ideas, opportunities and insightful updates for you. It’s all sponsored by Frontier, your edge in success. Now, here’s our host, Skip Lineberg.

Skip: Welcome to another exciting episode of “Gain Your Edge,” your twice a month podcast on all things IT. This is Episode 45 of “Gain Your Edge” and I’m your host, Skip Lineberg, Senior Marketing manager with Frontier Communications. This podcast was created and it exists today to help you gain a competitive edge for your business. We have a fascinating and important topic today, “Intellectual property.” Whether you’re a corporate business leader, a small business owner, or an aspiring entrepreneur. I think we’ve all had a moment when an invisible lightbulb blinks on and we say maybe out loud, “Wow!” Someone could actually make that. Whether it’s an app, a new take on an old product, or even the next step in the big bold IT landscape, invention and innovation are what drive the tech industry.

But all of those steps forward are build on the certainty that no one has made that particular step before. Without being sure that you can get into a world of legal jeopardy really quickly. So joining us today is one of the guys who can help you navigate that world. Sam Baxter, Chief Technology Officer at ip.com. His company essentially has brought the world of intellectual property into the modern age with tools and processes that are pretty amazing. And we have the delightful opportunity to learn all about it today over the next 30 minutes.

Hey, good morning, Sam. Thanks so much for joining us on “Gain Your Edge” podcast today.

Sam: Hey, good morning, Skip. Thanks for having me.

Skip: Sam, we’d like to start every episode out with a little starter question just to warm up the mics. In your position, I’m guessing you’ve seen a lot of interesting invention ideas. Have there been any that stood out as particularly crazy or particularly clever?

Sam: You know, Skip, there’s a lot of interesting patented things out there and I don’t really have a favorite one and there used to be websites that would actually have, you know, patent of the day who would have this kind of curious inventions. But I don’t really have a favorite one. No, I don’t. We have a picture on the wall in the office of a guitar and a patent that relates to some aspect of the guitar and that always kind of attracts my attention.

Skip: Well, that’s cool. By chance, do you watch Shark Tank?

Sam: I have, occasionally. Yeah.

Skip: Okay. I like that show and we all have our ideas of inventions and fantasies of pitching our ideas on Shark Tank for the chance to get hundreds of thousands of dollars of Venture Capital but it’s a…

Sam: Inventing the next frisbee.

Skip: There you go. Hey, Sam, before we get into the wild world of patents and search terms and intellectual property, can you tell our listeners a bit about yourself and your company ip.com? What does the company do, who does it help, and how did you get involved?

Sam: So I was working in the medical software industry and went through a successful startup company, Arc, and that was a lot of fun, started as employee number one of a company and built a piece of software that we brought to fruition. And after that Arc was over I was poking around looking for something new to do and a local Rochester company was looking for someone to guide an intellectual property startup which became ip.com. And I joined them to basically be their chief cook and bottle washer, if you will, to basically be the architect of the solution and to figure out what problems need to be solved as well as to, you know, take care of any of the details so I could leave the staff to be productive. And that turned into this 15-year arc where we’ve done a lot of things in intellectual property but that first thing was our publishing system which is today the world’s largest online publisher of technical disclosures and it still utilizes many of the architectures and protection approaches that we developed in the early 2000s.

Skip: Very cool. So you helped companies with good ideas search through thousands of other ideas that have already been patented. Before ip.com what was that process like. I’m picturing an Indiana Jones-like library with huge volumes of leather-bound books of patents but I’m guessing that might not be quite right either.

Sam: And so, you know, it’s interesting to certainly over the U.S. Patent Act was dated 1790, so of course, the life of patents in the United States things have changed a lot. It used to be if you built some kind of mechanical device, you actually sent a version of that mechanical device to the patent office and I’m pretty sure that one of the Smithsonian museums still has some of those [inaudible 00:04:49] devices, although there was some kind of fire at some point.

Skip: Wow.

Sam: But things changed a bit, you know, basically beginning in the 1970s when there was decisions to start creating data from patents rather than just publishing patents as printed materials. And then the UN got involved and created the World Intellectual Property office and certain standards across the world and, of course, as we approach the ’90s and 2000s, now pretty much all of the major world’s patent offices produce data. It’s interesting, and this is true of ip.com’s original core business, many of the laws relate to printed materials, relate to published materials and relate, as you suggested, to putting things in a library.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: But what’s really been popular since the ’70s and ’80s is to take patent data and put it into what’s generally called a full-text search engine and allowing people to look for words in that patent data in proximity to one another and in combination with one another. So you would write a fairly sophisticated query using a Boolean syntax and that Boolean syntax would say something like, “This word next to this word and this other word next to this other word.” So that’s how for a very long time people have been attempting to retrieve patent data.

Skip: Okay. I can imagine the time that saves, I mean, flipping through pages of paper books and those huge volumes that we mentioned earlier versus being able to search for indexed words and being able to look at those words in context with one another, wow, what a time saver.

Sam: I think it absolutely was a revolution. Actually, my first job was with a company originally called “Bibliographic Retrieval Services” and later renamed to BRS Information Technologies. And I actually work on their full-text engine and that code, that body of software still exist today, it was sold and purchased over the years and it’s owned by a company in Waterloo, Ontario named OpenText. And curiously, it is still the engine that is used at the USPTO for the retrieval of patents by patent examiners when they’re doing full-text searching. And I agree with this, Skip. It was absolutely revolutionary to have this idea of capturing the full text of sophisticated technical materials and enabling people to retrieve information based on using words that were found in that full text. And one could argue and it’s more than an argument, I think, that that is the very foundation of Google. If you look back at the initial implementations of Google, they were all about finding words and what they really had was a clever mechanism of figuring out what websites were relevant when it came to those words that you were looking for.

Skip: Yeah, it makes sense. It makes total sense and what a great analogy, what a great sidebar when we talk about Google and how that is relevant and analogous to what we’re talking about with the intellectual property world. Sam, one of the things in my show prep, one of the things that stood out to me was this concept of a semantic map and is that the notion of the Boolean search and being able to put in words like “and,” “but not,” that sort of thing or do you want to talk a little bit more about the semantic map?

Sam: So the map is the results of algorithms that we use to improve Boolean search, to improve this idea of simply typing in words and asking for them in proximity to one another. So before you actually arrive at the map, we apply some very interesting algorithms to the text using neural networks and machine learning technologies to basically figure out by examining the tens of millions of patent documents. Our collections right now run about 100 million documents. And we take these documents and we push them through a neural network and we essentially ask that network to kind of treat the documents as if the concepts in them were colors. It’s the best metaphor I can come up with.

Skip: Oh, cool.

Sam: If you think about how many colors there are in the world, there are a lot of colors.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: But if you take a sampling of some set of pictures which relate to something, in particular, you will see certain commonalities in the colors. So if you look at pictures of an ocean, you’re generally gonna see a bunch of blue and maybe some white clouds and maybe some tan sand. And if you look at pictures of a forest, you’re going to see a lot of green and a lot of browns and things like that. So if we kind of take that idea and we say we’re going to ask our neural networks to figure out what are the dominant colors and how do these colors relate to one another, that’s the idea of extracting concepts out of the data and when we do that we actually kind of create a color or a vector that is representative of each document and then we can…when we do a retrieval, we can basically try to calculate the color you’re looking for, I’m really stretching my metaphor, Skip.

Skip: It’s okay, I’m getting it, I’m following along and it’s making this semantic mapping and the whole search of retrieval easier to understand, so I like it.

Sam: Okay. So now we’ve basically got this big database, 100 million documents, every single document has a mathematical vector associated with it which is representative of the high-level ideas or the amount of the high-level ideas that exist in those documents. So if we want to look for something to find a match, what we’re able to do is take like a paragraph, calculate its vector and then find all of the documents that have close vectors. Now, I’m deeply simplifying this but that’s kind of the general idea. And what it causes to happen is documents which match what we’re looking for kind of bubble up to the surface, that is, they have all similar colors. Now, when we want to draw a map of those things we have these vectors. So in the mathematical space it’s actually possible to plot vectors. You know, we have a lot of different numbers in these vectors. There’s like 150 or 160 numbers in these vectors. So if we were to try to plot those, our minds get kind of blown pretty quickly. I don’t know about you.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: You know, once I get to the forest dimension I’m pretty lost.

Skip: Me, too.

Sam: Right? But the point is the computer can calculate these vectors and, in fact, these fancy graphics cards that we buy for our gamer machines have all kinds of high speed processing capabilities that deal with vectors because colors are a form of vector and we can then plot the relative location of these documents next to each other and push it through some interesting algorithms and reduce it to a two-dimensional perspective and that’s what we call our map.

Skip: Okay. And so the net of that Sam is much better search results and much more useful search results for the people who need to look for patent information, is that a fair assessment?

Sam: Yes. I think there are a number of uses for patent materials. And one of them is to figure out if somebody already has had the idea that I have. So I have some idea and you mentioned Shark Tank and that’s an interesting point. In order to get on Shark Tank, you actually have to or Shark Tank actually does this for you. They actually make sure that your idea is unique, they make sure that nobody else in the world has that they can find has come up with this idea so that you’re not infringing somebody else’s intellectual property rights. And that is one of the big uses of searching patent data is called prior art searching and it means you are looking for something which you want to make sure that your stuff is unique.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: That it is patentable. And that’s what’s important about patenting something, is that it is unique and not obvious.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: So that’s one big use of patent data and that’s pretty high precision stuff. You actually don’t care about swags, you care about specifics. You’re looking for a document that relates very, very closely to what your technology or idea embodies and you’re trying to determine if that document expresses your idea or specifically you’re looking to see if there are no other documents that express your idea. That’s one use case for patents.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: But the other use case for patents is really it’s different, it’s landscaping, which is the idea of understanding where markets and where companies are investing and what is the state of the art, what is the state of the market. And you could see things like if you looked over, we mentioned Google earlier, how can we not mention Google when you talk about searching, right?

Skip: Right.

Sam: If you were to look at Google’s patent portfolio, you would see that they were investing a great deal in the early arc of their existence in text retrieval, this isn’t surprising at all. Then they started to do things in images. And then all of a sudden, they boomed into doing videos and this is partly driven by their acquisition of YouTube. We might forget today that YouTube wasn’t always owned by Google. And you can actually see this progression in the patent data. You can see that Google started here and they began acquiring things and they began patenting things in these other areas. And, of course, this applies to just about any technology, modern technology you can imagine. It applies to battery technologies, cell phone technologies, computer processing technologies. It applies to biomedicine and pharmaceuticals. So if you want to understand where the world is in terms of its development of a particular technology, patent data is a really interesting place to look. And in that case, you’re not looking for specifics, you’re looking for broad swath of information that are representative of what’s going on and the semantic map is extremely useful in seeing that. I can give you a specific example.

Skip: Yeah, please do.

Sam: We’ve all been reading about Bitcoin, and Bitcoin has this underlying technology which is called Blockchain.

Skip: Yup.

Sam: And if you were to search in the patent data you can actually see that a portion of blockchain relates to these algorithms which are used to secure and enable these currencies. Curiously enough, however, patent data goes back, remember I said 1790 was the start.

Skip: Yeah, long time ago,

Sam: So when you search for things like blockchain, you actually find patents regarding hauling around concrete blocks with teams.

Skip: Of course, of course.

Sam: Of course. And what the semantic map does for you is allows you to see the sets of patents which are interrelated with technologies and isolate that set of patents from the ones that are related to the older concepts of hauling blocks around the chains. And that’s very useful because then you can lasso in the map the way you might imagine you could lasso something in the paint program or something and select those documents and focus in on what companies are investing in blockchain and acquiring patents in blockchain, and what do those patents speak to. Do they all speak to finance or do they speak to other areas of technology?

Skip: Wow, great example. And interestingly enough, Sam, we just talked about Bitcoin and blockchain on our prior episode of “Gain Your Edge” when we were doing our tech headlines and review last show, so great example, very relevant, very timely. Sam, as I’m gaining an understanding of the service that you offer and the technology that you provide in the market, is there a case where someone could be looking at results related to certain types of ideas and be inspired to take their idea in a holy new direction because of the search results that they find through your platform.

Sam: Yes. Shocking that I said yes to that, huh? But here’s another example. So there are times when technologies are developed for one purpose and then they turn out to be useful in another purpose. And when we’re inventing or we’re scientists or engineers and we’re thinking about things, we tend to get kind of focused, humans get kind of focused, this isn’t a bad thing by the way, on solving the problem that they are thinking about. So one of our favorite examples of this is we work with a number of energy companies and we all know that energy companies have been investing in tracking technologies.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: And one of the aspects of tracking technology is to be able to look below the surface of the earth and see what you can find. So they have a number of patents that speak to this idea of looking below the surface and mapping out how to get to some anomaly which is under the surface. So when you talk to an energy engineer who’s working on this, this is all they really are thinking about which is perfectly reasonable. But once you acquire patents in that space, you may discover that there are other uses for that technology and curiously the energy technology is deeply related to medical technologies that look through the surface of the skin to finding target problems in the human body and it’s also related to airline technologies where they look under the surface of the aircraft to see if they can find failures in the metal.

Skip: Of course.

Sam: So this is one of these places where if you have a technology which is useful in a particular environment, the patent data in our system, in our mapping technologies and the way we do retrieval using conceptual retrieval rather than just keywords allows you to see through the boundaries of your idea and introduce you to the other areas where your idea might be applicable.

Skip: Perfect. Thanks for building that out for us and, Sam, we’re gonna take a short break here when we’re gonna hear from our sponsor, Frontier Business, encourage our listeners to stay with us, you won’t want to miss a single moment of the second half of the show.

Man: The best edge in business is inspiration. If you’re inspired by this podcast and today’s topic Frontier is ready to help you put that inspiration into action. For a free consultation and to learn more about communication solutions that give your business an edge over the competition, call us at 888-200-0603. That’s 888-200-0603 or send an email to businessedge@frontier.com. Frontier, the edge you need to succeed. Now, back to the podcast.

Skip: Welcome back to “Gain Your Edge.” Today, we’re talking about intellectual property and my guest from the show today is Sam Baxter, Chief Technology Officer at ip.com. Hey, Sam, before we delve deeper into the topic of intellectual property, I wondered if you would just talk about your customer base. Who uses ip.com? Who are the most common users as you characterize your market for us?

Sam: So that’s a little difficult to answer because patents apply across a very wide swath of industries. And I mentioned the energy industry, there’s certainly a lot in technology, software companies, and hardware companies, cell phone companies, and there’s a lot of use of patents in universities. Universities particularly will make sure that they can protect their research and potentially monetize their research. We have consumer product companies. We have biomedical companies and some chemical companies and there are also a swath of smaller inventors and smaller companies who get a seat on our platform because they can get insights into what’s going on with the big guys, I mean, patenting is expensive. So it is often dominated by the large entities in the world. That said, there are many, many patents owned by individual inventors and if you were to google this topic, you would discover that venture capitalist and investors in small businesses are always looking for what sets of small company apart and one thing that can definitively add value to small companies is the acquisition of a patent that protects their ability to practice their art, to uniquely apply their trades or their goods.

Another thing that every investor is interested in is to assure that you actually have the freedom to practice what you’re doing that you may have a great idea, but if somebody else patented it first that could actually prevent your company from expanding and succeeding. So there’s a number of uses in the finance industry and the M&A industry. You might actually remember when Google, boy, their favorite topic, purchased Motorola mobility when Motorola split off their cell phone deficient and purchased Motorola Mobility for, I think it was, don’t quote me, but I think it was at $13 billion. It was largely attributable to the patent portfolio that they were acquiring in the cell phone space.

So patents can be extraordinarily valuable and useful in really large transactions, but everything that happens on a big scale can also happen on a little scale. So if you’re a small company with a very unique technology or unique idea and you’re hoping to create a new industry or a new solution understanding patents and understanding your position against the world’s patents is very important.

Skip: Absolutely. Sam, across all these verticals that you mention and the different markets that you’re technology supports or many of your users’ attorneys, law firms have to be a big user of your platform as well. Is that right?

Sam: Yeah. Law firms, interestingly enough, many law firms when they have to do patent searching on behalf of their clients, they actually farm it out. They actually hire outside companies and in fact, our company offers those kind of services as well. And many large companies farms some of it out as well. Increasingly, we see R&D users in the larger companies so that they know and again, the use case in small companies remains true.

Skip: Sure.

Sam: So that they’re coming up with improved means to reduce cost of their products or, and remember, I’d spoke a little bit about how one technology may be applicable in a different area in a non-competitive fashion.

Skip: Right.

Sam: And so if you find a patent which could potentially dramatically improve a manufacturing process or a packaging process or something that relates to your product, inventing it yourself may not make sense, it may actually make sense to contact the owner of that patent and see if they’ll license it to you for a use in your environment.

Skip: So a new application for an existing product or technology.

Sam: Yes. And this happens far more frequently than you would imagine.

Skip: Okay. Sam, thank you for describing your marketing, your user base, and the verticals that you started, that’s very helpful for us. So my next question, Sam, is talking about sort of the tone and the topic, and without meaning to be bleak, this whole world seems kind of like a legal mind field, a lot of jeopardy there. How can you tell who owns what with so many technologies overlapping or being components of other technologies or new applications for other technologies? Can you sort that out for us?

Sam: I can do my best.

Skip: Okay. Fair enough.

Sam: You know, one of the things about patents is that they are legal documents and they tend to be written by attorneys. And in some cases, there is no obligation necessarily for a person writing a patent to assure that they use the same language that everybody else in the world uses. And interestingly enough as it’s typical of legal documents, they actually get to define certain terminology. Times are divided into something called descriptions and claims and I won’t go down that rat hole, but they get impossible in the description to define terms which you use in the legal portion of the document which is claims.

So description is something which is to teach someone what the background is and what the use of your invention is and claims are the legal enforceable things which have to do with what you do uniquely, what you claim is unique about your invention.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: And obfuscating that material is actually done far more regularly than we’d like to think and one of the great things about our algorithm and our approach to indexing the data is that we see through many of these obfuscations so that you can use the terminology that you understand and to be able to find things even if people have attempted to obfuscate it. So, yeah, I would say if you’re going to acquire a patent, you would be wise to engage a patent that’s going to help you navigate the legal world but it’s not as hard as you would think to read patents and understand what they’re saying particularly when you have a facility that doesn’t force you to read hundreds and hundreds of them and helps you understand what companies owned those patents and that actually can help you right there understand if that patent is threatening to you or not.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: How did I do in that answer?

Skip: That’s helpful. Sam, there’s a concept that I came across in my show prep called the concept of Corporate Tree. Tell us a little bit about that and if you could expand on how that applies to our discussion today?

Sam: So when patents are issued, they originally were printed on paper in our particular format and they never changed. However, in real life, patents do change in the sense of who owns them. It is possible, of course, to buy and sell patents. It’s possible to license patents and things like that. That is not reflected on the surface of the patent document that is kept in ledgers and journals elsewhere. And, of course, the world does this all with the computers now but at some point, you know, if you sold the patent, you might tell the PTO, “Hey, I’m ABC Company and I sold this patent to XYZ Company.” That idea is referred to as the current assignee of the patent.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: So what’s interesting is there’s actually very little legal obligation to inform anybody about the ownership of a patent.

Skip: That’s surprising.

Sam: It is surprising, isn’t it? And the Chinese are actually changing that in their patent law, but in the United States if a large company acquires another company, they don’t necessarily have the obligation to tell anyone that the patent owned by the smaller company or the acquired company was actually now owned by them. And a part of this is the logistics of doing that of reassigning patents may be kind of overwhelming if they bought a company with a lot of patents, and as long as they keep the legal entity in place, which many large companies do, they still own that patent. But there’s not a lot of clarity when you look back at the original data. I can give you a specific example.

Skip: Please.

Sam: Microsoft purchased Skype.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: And Skype had a bunch of patents about their technologies. Now, Microsoft to their credit is a very open company regarding what they own in patents and they’ve actually stated that they are not recording in all cases the legal reassignments of Skype. Now, as I said, they’re transparent, you can actually go to the Microsoft R&D site someplace and download a spreadsheet, an excel spreadsheet at that.

Skip: Imagine that.

Sam: That reflects their ownerships of patents, but not all companies are as transparent as Microsoft is. And if you really want to know what Microsoft owns, you actually have to search the original patent data, not just for Microsoft patents but also for Skype patents and combine them together. So separate from the patent world, there’s the financial industry and as you can imagine data is very valuable in the financial industry.

Skip: Of course.

Sam: And in the financial industry, there are a number of large companies, Dow Jones and those guys who record and create databases of mergers and acquisitions and create what the history of a company was and what assets that company owns. One of those companies is Standard & Poor’s, S&P, and we mostly know of them, for the S&P 500.

Skip: Of course.

Sam: But S&P has data which reflects the corporate tree of a company, that is, when you look at a big company like Microsoft under that corporate tree someplace in that hierarchy is Skype because they purchased Skype and they record that information. In large companies, companies like IBM, for example, literally have thousands of acquisitions over their life. And many of those acquisitions have patents and sometimes they don’t move the, as I mentioned earlier, they don’t reassign the patents formally to IBM, that doesn’t mean they don’t own them, they’re just not formally assigned.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: So we have taken, we have license data from S&P which is reflective of these corporate hierarchies and we have matched that information into the patents so that you can get the best possible reflection of what a large company owns.

Skip: Wow. What a service that must be. And again, things that I might overlook or blind spots that could hurt me by doing what you’ve done there, that’s gonna guard against that, isn’t it?

Sam: It’s kind of the Holy Grail to be able to accurately reflect the ownership of the patents particularly by big players in industries. And this assists with that a great deal. And assists with bringing transparency to the process as best as we possibly can.

Skip: You know, Sam, as I think about this using your tool and using your platform, I could envision that I could get on there and do some research and I could look at some trends to discover where budgets are getting shifted around in incorporations in the R&D world and maybe it would give me some perspective on emerging technologies at least where companies are investing in R&D for technologies. Is that something that I could do? Would that fall under the landscaping that you shared with us earlier?

Sam: Yes, it absolutely would. The one thing that you have to be cognizant of with patents is that there is an 18-month delay from the time a patent is filed and the time it is first published.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: And so there is a little bit of a lag in the patent data and current literature tends to not have that lag and that’s addressed in our platform particularly for companies like Frontier and technology companies because we have all of the IEEE literature in out platform. We actually have a partnership with the IEEE and we are the only patent service which indexes the full text of IEEE literature using algorithms like ours. So you can actually use our platform to get to cutting edge stuff because IEEE journals and IEEE conferences tend to be talking about cutting edge stuff.

So that kind of fills in that 18-month gap particularly for electrical electronic computer and systems engineering which is where the IEEE literature is very strong. The IEEE has been around a long time and they are not just a standards organization. Some of us know of IEEE because of their participation in the Wi-Fi standards.

Skip: Yeah, of course.

Sam: But they also published…have many, many leading-edge conferences and they publish journals, so their literature is one of the most cited pieces of literature in patents. Patents, by the way, tend to cite other patents and other literature which back up their causes or prove things or to create credibility. Patents require credibility just like anything else and there’s citations in patents and IEEE is one of the most cited patent sources.

Skip: That makes sense. Sam, you talked about my company, Frontier. If we look at our industry, IT, telecom, data security, from what you’ve seen are there any particular merging trends in that world from an intellectual property perspective?

Sam: Well, I can tell you, I’m not particularly plugged into trends of particular industries other than to say that I kind of work in IT and software development. And data security is really a hot topic.

Skip: Sure.

Sam: And the other things that are kind of leading-edge stuff right now are all this home automation.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: You know the Amazon Echos and the Google Homes of the world.

Skip: Also, we sometimes call it the IoT, Internet of Things.

Sam: That’s right, Internet of Things and the protocols that are involved in that. One of them which is used for, like, the door locks and it means you have hubs, and one of them is called Zigbee.

Skip: Okay.

Sam: So those kinds of communications and technology protocols, there’s a lot going on there.

Skip: It makes sense. Those are some of the show topics that we’ve covered, security, Internet of Things, wireless communications are very hot and those trends have emerged in our being rolled out and commercialized all across markets.

Sam, I want to thank you so much for taking your time today to share information about intellectual property with me and our listeners. It’s been very helpful, very informative, and I think the sense that I have is that we’re just scratching the surface of gaining and understanding. It occurs to me that I want to have you back so that we can dig a little deeper into this topic so that we can be better informed and better prepared to deal with that effectively as business leaders. Would you be willing to come back with us again?

Sam: Oh, sure. I love talking about this stuff and, Skip, I have to say something which is a personal passion before we go.

Skip: Of course.

Sam: I basically, I mentioned I was in medical software. I’ve been in this legal space for quite a while and early in my career, I was in the information retrieval space. And those are all tied together with this idea of information. And one of the things that I hope our platform and our software is reflective of is my personal passion to put smart people in touch with things. And one of the interesting things about patents and I mentioned this earlier they tend to be a little obfuscated. And one of the goals of our software is to make it so that people don’t need to understand how to express themselves, how to write fancy queries, Booleans, operators, how they can be unhooked from that.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: And the software can give them a view into information which is interesting to them and that’s a personal passion. I believe that there are many, many smart people in this world and just because they can’t retrieve information in some arcane system does not make them any less smart. It’s the computer’s job and our job as software developers to make it easier for people to utilize computers and to access the information that is locked in the 100 million patent documents.

Skip: Well, thank you for that. Thank you for your passion toward making things user-friendly and I applaud your work there and keep up the great work.

Sam: Well, thanks.

Skip: Sam, before I let you go, I want to ask you a question that I ask every single guest on “Gain Your Edge” Podcast, everyone that’s come in front of the microphone, there is someone involved with technology in one form or fashion. And so I always like to ask my guests, what do you do when you want to disconnect from technology, when you want to get away from it all and you want to just have some fun? How do you like to unwind and disconnect?

Sam: So I mentioned to you probably personally off the air that I have a home on Cape Cod.

Skip: Yeah.

Sam: And Cape Cod is a beautiful place and it has some of the most stunning beaches and frankly ponds and lakes in the northeast. And going and walking at the beach or sunning oneself on the edge of a pond, and my wife and I also love places like New Hampshire and the mountains. In September, we rented a place at the top of a mountain and this is a great place to get away from cell phone towers, internet connections, and just appreciate the fact that there’s some really beautiful things to look at in the world.

Skip: I love it. I love it. Hey, Sam, thanks again. Really a pleasure speaking with you today.

Sam: It’s my pleasure, Skip. Love to talk to you again sometime.

Skip: Okay. I think we can all agree that we have so much more to learn about intellectual property, but unfortunately, that’s all the time we have today that brings us to the bottom of Episode 45. Download this podcast at frontier.com/gainyouredge. You can also find all of our podcast on iTunes. I encourage you to share “Gain Your Edge” Podcast like this episode in particular with your colleagues, other business leaders you can learn from and benefit the lessons provided by our guest gurus like Sam Baxter. Please join me, Skip Lineberg, next time on “Gain Your Edge” and until then, have a great week.

Frontier Business

Frontier Communications offers voice, broadband, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings, specialized bundles for small businesses and home offices, and advanced business communications for medium and large businesses in 28 states and with approximately 18,600 employees based entirely in the United States.