The Commercial Issue
A London-based client AD-X developed and licensed software to track the usage of web advertisements and resulting app downloads – especially via mobile cellular networks. This software addressed a problem that had proved difficult to resolve because the cookie-based solutions used in the desktop environment were defeated by the security measures built into mobile telephones. Phil Jones and Paul Hayton, founders and directors of AD-X along with David Philippson, developed a unique solution which allowed tracking in a way not previously thought possible.
Software inventions can be difficult to patent and it is necessary to present them carefully as solving a technical problem. AD-X had a pressing need to protect their ground-breaking invention worldwide, given how rapidly developments in software could be replicated or superseded.
How We Helped
We had worked with Phil and Paul before, filing patent applications for their inventions in the mobile phone field, having originally worked with Phil when he was a Board Director at an Oxford spin-out in the medical data processing field. We had therefore already established a strong working relationship and shared understanding of intellectual property issues in this sector, and our client recognised the critical importance to their business of protecting their invention swiftly and effectively. We filed European, US, and International patent applications covering the invention, explaining clearly what the technical issues and obstacles were to give the applications the best chance of success.
AD-X proceeded to license its technology successfully and profitably. In mid-2013 it was approached by a larger French company Criteo who were active in web tracking but, anticipating their own IPO, were anxious to move into the increasingly important mobile field. After some negotiation Criteo agreed to acquire AD-X, purchasing the company including its technology and intellectual property in a multi-million pound deal.
I believe that if you have something you think is unique and a competitive advantage you should always explore the possibility of applying for a patent. It signals to investors and potential acquirers that you are taking your business seriously.
J A Kemp's advice on patent protection and commercial issues has been invaluable to the businesses I have founded over the last 10 years.
Phil Jones, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, AD-X