This interview is part of our new Blockchain In The Legal Industry series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and the legal industry.
In this interview we speak with Tim Londergan, CEO of Operem, to understand how his company is using blockchain and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Operem? Why and how did you begin?
TL: Several of the leaders of Operem, including myself and Managing Director Nick Gibson, were part of the founding team and spent several years at the Invention Development Fund of Intellectual Ventures (IV)- at one time the world’s largest private equity fund focused solely on invention and the monetization of intellectual property. While at IV, we saw that the various legal procedures and paperwork involved in securing or licensing intellectual property were expensive, time consuming, often arcane, and even sometimes prevented the IP monetization process. It seemed that nobody but the lawyers were doing well from this state of affairs. When blockchain technology came on the scene, we immediately saw an opportunity to use it to offer a more direct way for inventors and companies to engage with one another around the co-development and licensing of IP.
2. Please describe your use case and how Operem uses blockchain:
TL: Operem uses blockchain technology for what it’s best at today: creating an immutable, time-stamped record of a transaction. This allows our customers to document their new inventions, artwork, music, ideas or any sensitive information and then share it safely with anyone else by using the Operem platform. This has implications for how large companies track and develop their new inventions and patents, as well as how companies collaborate and co-develop with outside third-parties.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
TL: We have several customers using the Operem platform today. To take one example, a large and well-known Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer uses Operem as its platform of choice for managing IP-heavy collaborations with researchers at universities. The company shares its IP with the researchers at the university, who then build upon those ideas to come up with new technology and new products. The university researchers then use the Operem platform to share these new ideas back with the large company but because of the immutable nature of blockchain, they can track the ongoing status of their idea, including who has seen it at the company. In this way, no one’s great idea or contribution to an “idea with many fathers” is ever lost or accidentally forgotten about because the Operem platform always tracks who has done what and when they did it.
Two other use cases and customers can be found here:
4. What other blockchain use cases in the legal industry are you excited about?
TL: We are currently in talks with one of the world’s best known software companies to use our platform as a solution to help with “export control”- another important area with legal ramifications at the intersection of international trade law, technology, and national policy. Having an immutable record of what all of your employees have sent around to their colleagues who are nationals of and located in other countries is growing in importance with the increasing tension between the major economies of the world over matters of intellectual property. We see a significant opportunity here.
5. Where will Operem be in five years?
TL: We believe any large company who cares about its intellectual property, including patents, trade secrets, and copyrighted material will be using the Operem Platform to manage this valuable company asset. We also think average consumers will also be using a consumer friendly version of our platform to securely capture their cool and potentially valuable ideas or artwork and share them with others either just for fun or to generate revenue. We think securely sharing ideas and works of music and art over Operem will become an everyday activity for consumers and companies alike.