Ex-Pepper Hamilton Lawyer Launches Patent Data Tool for Start-Ups

A former associate and patent agent from US law firm, Pepper Hamilton, has launched a new legal data analysis tool that can identify existing patents which could block issuance of new patents for start-ups.

Pittsburgh-based Curtis Wadsworth launched his own consultancy after 12 years as a fee earner in Big Law and has now developed the Groundworx system by making use of the language analysis capabilities of UK-based patent tech company, PatSnap.

Wadsworth said his Three10 consultancy and the Groundworx platform will help start-ups by identifying any issues early on that could impede investment, or crop up later once the company fully develops its product and moves to gain a patent.

He added that he recognised this need in the market while performing due diligence for venture capitalists and large multinational companies focused on biotechnology start-ups while at Pepper Hamilton.

Artificial Lawyer caught up with Wadsworth and asked if he could tell us more.

What does Groundworx do?

Groundworx is a patentability type search that supplies competitor analysis. I’m also developing protocols for white-space and freedom-to-operate analysis using PatSnap tech. PatSnap is supplying all the tech. I’m developing protocols for specific needs.

I don’t know everything that goes into PatSnap’s tech, but it sorts prior art better than any search software I’ve ever used.

What is the aim of the venture now? Do you have funding?

My goal is to find ways for innovators and business people to communicate through their patents. In my experience, patents are either filed from the innovator position (new technology over marketable technology) or less often from the business position (market over new technology). Neither produces consistently valuable patents. There must be a better way, and I’m going to find it.

I’m self-funding now.  But, I’m happy to talk to anyone who wants to invest.

A game of Risk.

How did the relationship start between you and the UK company?

The contour map function is what originally drew me to PatSnap.  For years, I’ve tried to find a way to visually display patent search and competitive analysis patent data.

At one point, I used a Risk board with armies representing patents and territories representing technology.

My clients were entertained, but it wasn’t very effective.  In contrast, when I show a contour map to innovators, they get it, and when I show a contour map to business people, they get it. This tech is bringing me closer to getting the sides of the start-up together.

I’m licensing the PatSnap platform. Their client service people are helping me get the results from it that I’m looking for. I’m hoping to continue building on this relationship. They are focused on continuing to improve their platform and are very open to suggestions.

Thanks! Wishing you all the best with your new venture. And great to see another legal tech company coming out of Pittsburgh.