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USA-Europe-CIS-China: how PatentBot - a legaltech startup from Ukraine - conquers the world

USA-Europe-CIS-China: how PatentBot - a legaltech startup from Ukraine - conquers the world

17 Jul 2020

No matter how innovative the idea of a business is, you will inevitably come across the need to register a brand. In almost every country, this is a rather time-consuming procedure as you need to fill out a pile of documents, consult a patent attorney and pay a number of fees.The PatentBot startup team has developed a product that can shorten this procedure to 10-15 minutes. Natalia Vladimirova, CEO and startup co-founder, told us what the project is all about and how it is developing.

Startup Jedi

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What is the project about?

PatentBot is a chatbot that allows you to apply for registration of a trademark, copyright and patent online at any time. The project solves the problem of filling out documents incorrectly and, as a result, eliminates the need to re-submit the application, helps you save time (the client does not even need to leave the house as the bot support service will transfer the documents to the appropriate state agency and pay all necessary fees) and money (no need to register for a consultation with an attorney). The project operates in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, European Union, China and the USA.

PatentBot startup
Click on the image to open PatentBot's profile on the Rocket DAO platform

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We wanted to automate the process

The project turns 3 years old in July. Its founders are lawyers with extensive experience, who once realized that it was possible to automate the process of registering a trademark, copyright and obtaining a patent.

In any country, in order to register a trademark, you need to visit a special institution. In Ukraine, for example, it is Ukrpatent, in the USA it’s USPTO, and there are similar departments in every country where you need to fill out certain documents. Today, many of them can be filled out and submitted online, but not all and not everywhere.

As a rule, completely different people register trademarks, but not all of them possess sufficient knowledge in the nuances of TM registration. Accordingly, there is a risk that you can make a mistake when filling out the documents. The official fee is usually not refunded if the document was filled out incorrectly. To fill out the document correctly, a person seeks help from a patent attorney. It takes time and, of course, money to communicate with one.

PatentBot allows you to qualitatively fill out documents from the first try and not overpay.

The advantage of the bot is that it works 24/7, all payments are one-off sums and are charged automatically. Thus, there is no risk that all payments will be canceled due to non-payment of some duties on time and you will have to start all over again. In order to serve clients as efficiently as possible, we have the opportunity to contact a consultant, and after filling out an application together with the bot, all documents will be checked by lawyers who specialize in patents.

By the way, there is a 15% discount on trademark registration in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Europe and the USA for Startup Jedi readers using the Pb + RD15 promo code.

 

The first sales happened … on Friday night

The patent bot was officially launched on Friday night when patent attorneys no longer work. We announced that we opened and customers decided to try a new product straight away. It was a great marketing ploy!

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PatentBot startup

A bot is a girl who speaks three languages

The chatbot functions in the Facebook messenger and on the project website. The client can go to our project page, write a message to the chat, and the communication begins right away. Another option is to visit our website with the exact same chatbot.

Next, the bot asks questions to the client, and he answers them.

One of our features is that the chatbot is not a faceless program, it is a girl who changes her outfit depending on the country. We came up with this to create a sense of personal communication and to make sure that the client trusts us — as much as it’s possible to trust a bot :)

First off, the girl offers the client to choose the language (now she can communicate in English, Ukrainian, Russian), then choose what you need to register — a trademark, copyright or patent protection, when you choose a trademark, the bot offers to choose the country of registration. Then the user answers bot’s simple questions and thereby provides information for submitting documents for registration.

When the client has gone through the whole procedure, the bot announces the service cost to them.

As for the search, any original (in the user’s opinion) name can be registered right away. We offer two search options for databases. The first is a general search in open databases of registered trademarks, which is free for the client. The second is a search in closed databases, and clients have to pay for it. In practice, this means that we see a list of not only registered trademarks, but also those that have applied for registration. In case an application for a trademark is accepted, no one can submit another application for this trademark, but there are no such names in open databases, and if a complete search is not done, the application may not be confirmed. We advise clients to use the search in closed databases straight away, this increases the chances of confirmation of the registration application.

The cost of searching in closed databases is $ 195 in the United States, $ 50 in Ukraine, $ 230 in Russia , $ 310 in Belarus and $ 290 in Kazakhstan.

Our bot girl explains the client what they are paying for prior to the payment: how much our services cost, what fees and duties the rest of the money goes to. If there is a promo code, then, of course, we give a discount. The whole process takes 10–15 minutes.

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PatentBot startup

Why blockchain

PatentBot introduced blockchain for the copyright registration procedure back in 2018. This has helped to improve the level of intellectual property protection and simplify authorship verification methods. Thanks to this, the copyright registration procedure only takes about 10 minutes. Besides, the transition to a decentralized digital ledger makes it easy to check who owns the authorship.

After the file is sent, the client receives it in encrypted form with an encryption time stamp. They then receive a key that can open this file. In other words, the client gets a digital hash code, thanks to which they get the opportunity to fix their authorship in a hack-resistant system once and for all and, in case of disputes in the future, refer to such a record.

Just to compare

Scheduling a meeting with a patent attorney for registering a trademark takes 2 to 5 working days. It takes 1–2 days to discuss additional issues with a lawyer. Meetings last for 1–2 days with another 1–2 days for signing the documents. Add 1–3 days for paying various duties. and 1–2 days for filling the documentation. Of course, all of the above do not take the entire working day, but nevertheless, the average time costs vary from 7 to 14 days.

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PanentBot startup

What we managed to do in three years

  • 3 products (trademark, patent, copyright);

  • Implemented Blockchain technology;

  • Chatbot on Facebook and on the website;

  • 3 languages for the bot;

  • 50,000+ users, 100,000+ verified brands;

  • Have been recognized as one of the best legal innovations in 2018 by Hiil;

  • Have been recognized as one of the best bots for managing business costs according to Forbes;

  • We work in the markets of the CIS countries, Europe, China and the USA;

  • PatentBot was named Bot of the Year in 2017 at the American Product Hunt Golden Kitty Awards. And back then the project has only been present on the market for less than a year!

Despite the fact that the project is 3 years old, the version of the chatbot has not changed a lot. New products have been added during this time including provision patent and copyright. The bot itself has been improved in terms of user experience and customer service.

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PanentBot startup

There is room for growth 

We see potential in the fact that many companies that have registered a trademark in one market have already grown and are now entering another market, meaning they need to go through this procedure again, otherwise their work will be blocked sooner or later if they don’t register a trademark. We propose to do this not only without leaving your home country, but also without leaving your office or home.

We hope to launch a patent update this year. You can’t register them for 10–20–30 years and they need to be updated annually.

In the next month or two, we will launch a personal account for patent attorneys of law firms. With its help, any patent attorney in the world will be able to register, enter their personal account, communicate with a client online, enter all the data and apply for registration in other countries.

This will be beneficial for patent attorneys in terms of optimizing labor costs and time consumption (no need to go or send documents to any department). Besides, they will have a mini-CRM in our personal account, where they will see the state of affairs of their current clients.

The personal account will also come in handy for corporate lawyers who manage the intellectual property of their enterprises.

We want to fully enter the European market. If we now tap the American market and increase the share of our presence there, Europe will become a new marketing target, followed by China. Asia has a very large market volume with tens of thousands of small businesses opening there daily.

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PatentBot startup

Investment

In May 2018, the startup attracted investments from the Betatron accelerator, the project was then estimated at $ 750 thousand. In July 2019 it cost $ 1 million and we had attracted $ 70,000 investments at that time. In just 3 years, PatentBot raised $ 170,000 in investments with $ 18,000 being the funds of the founders, $ 22,000 being a grant from the European company Hiil, $ 30,000 being an investment from the Betatron accelerator and $ 100,000 being funds from external investors.

The project has already reached operating profit, but we still need investments. Considering that we are developing into other markets, we need serious investments in marketing. In addition, our development is not cheap. Today we are in the Seed-round and are going to raise $ 400,000. The startup’s current valuation is $ 2.5 million.

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PatentBot startup

Our main audience is small and medium-sized businesses.

If we talk about the clients themselves, our main clients are small and medium-sized businesses, including startups. This includes the registration of the name as a trademark, and the patent for the startup mechanics.

Now we are focused on B2C sales. This is our main target audience. Ordinary people who, in fact, bypass the law firm of a patent attorney also come to us. We also have B2B that are certain partnerships with law firms that use a patent bot.

The client pays for the bot service and all state fees, and depending on its cost in a particular country also the government fees. We have many payment options: a person can both transfer money to a card and through PayPal, or transfer it to a current account, which is convenient for companies.

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There are no similar chatbots on the market yet

I found several companies in the US that allow you to fill out a patent / trademark / copyright application online. But we haven’t found a chatbot yet, not to mention our feature with a girl and her dressing up, GIFs for visualization and her open manner of communication.

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Register chatbot appeared in Ukraine, which so far only works with a trademark and only in Ukraine.

I have not yet found a full-fledged competitor who would deal with our areas of work and in the chatbot format.

I have not yet found a full-fledged competitor who would deal with our areas of work and in the chatbot format.

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PatentBot

The team

Project team includes Natalia Vladimirova, CEO and co-founder of the startup, with 12 year experience in the field of international patents. Artem Afyan, BDO and co-founder, 10 years of experience in IT law. Dmitry Skumbriy, lawyer in the field of international patents, 3 year experience in the field. Andrey Nikonorov, a developer with three years of experience in developing bots. Evgeniya Shalenko, CMO, over 12 years of experience in marketing and 3 years in international communications, EBRD marketing consultant. The startup also has a pool of consultants and advisors.

PatentBot is currently looking for a scala developer to work on new processes and project development. We’ve been looking for new virgins for probably six months already.

And currently an internal sales department is being formed, previously it was outsourcing.

So the project is developing at a frantic speed)

17 Jul 2020

 

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