Dr. Bastian July of GoodIP tells us about AI-driven patent evaluation.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Dr. Bastian July: We are well and healthy, thank you for asking. We enjoyed a really nice summer last year; we can go out on the street without curfews and enjoy the time together, as well as the privilege of being able to work from home without experiencing real limitations to our work. That is already something to be thankful for in these times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded GoodIP.
Dr. Bastian July: I am an IP lawyer, husband, and nature enjoying hiking lover. I studied law in Germany and in the USA and am admitted to practice law in Germany and New York. Before founding GoodIP in 2017, I specialized in IP and patents in the legal department of Lantiq (now Intel) and in the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery before I successfully negotiated various multi-million patent license agreements for the lighting company Osram and ran Osram’s patent litigations globally.
However, my goal has always been to make patents more clear to people, especially to executives and those who don’t understand how much value their patent portfolio actually has, because – let’s be honest – patents are complicated and their true meaning for a businesses strategy is not easy to grasp. That’s why I founded GoodIP, which by now consists of a team of data scientists, lawyers, engineers, business analysts and students and helps companies to get the most out of their IP.
How does GoodIP innovate?
Dr. Bastian July: It sometimes feels like we are doing the impossible – making people who have no idea about patents actually understand the importance of IP for their market position and business strategy. Getting objective and easily understandable results about IP hasn’t been possible so far, which is why we rethought IP evaluation from scratch. We developed an AI-driven patent evaluation that turns patents into an understandable and actionable format. It is basically the solution to years of frustration and high costs for market analyses and patent lawyers. It’s just amazing to see how much need there is for this kind of service, and astonishing how many companies have their IP just “lying around” as a number on their balance sheet without being able to understand the value and importance of it for its business strategy.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Dr. Bastian July: Unfortunately, we lost a large and important contract due to the pandemic, but this put us into the new position of transforming our whole business model leading to the development of a completely new AI-based product, gaining new customers and increasing our sales. So, I guess you can say that after every storm, there’s a rainbow – or rather that hard work pays off in the end (laughs).
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Dr. Bastian July: Within the last few months, our team has actually grown in number, and we are planning to hire more people until the end of this year who want to join us in our cause. It is really great that even during this time, we are joined by motivated people willing to work 100% remotely, who are contributing to a great team spirit and GoodIP’s success.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Dr. Bastian July: The pandemic has, of course, been limiting us to doing video calls and phone calls, as meeting in person is just not possible right now. Nevertheless, the relationship with our customers became even closer. We used several different online tools to stay in touch, like Google Hangouts, Slack, Asana, and we are also having regular lunch or coffee meetings with our customers. I personally think that through everyone experiencing this pandemic in more or less similar ways and exchanging your thoughts in regular video calls, you get to know your customer even better, as you learn a lot about your customers and their everyday life. In this way, our customer relationship management did not suffer from living through the pandemic.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Dr. Bastian July: We did not receive any government support, but we also haven’t had any problems with staying afloat. We have actually been able to grow and to increase our sales during this period so that we did not need any government support, which of course is great, and we are very proud of and thankful for the success during these times.
Your final thoughts?
Dr. Bastian July: It took us a long time to get to where we are now, but seeing that we just grew stronger during these difficult times shows that all the hard work was worth it and that there is a real need for our product. This makes me even more excited to continue making GoodIP successful in helping companies to identify and understand the true value of their patent portfolios. I am really grateful to have a motivated team by my side, sharing my passion for the cause and driving GoodIP forward.