This post is part of our new Future of Law series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
1. What’s the history of TurboPatent? Where and how did you begin?
BM: James Billmaier and Charles Mirho founded TurboPatent in 2013 to radically improve the patent process. James has more than 100 patents to his name and has managed hundreds of patents for different ventures where he held leadership positions. Charles Mirho, a MSEE and computer expert and patent attorney who was formerly an Intel patent attorney, created pieces of automation over many years to streamline the creation and prosecution of patents. After working together to build a patent portfolio of over 400 patents at one venture, James and Charles decided to create TurboPatent with the goal of using technology to automate and improve the antiquated patenting process. Imagine trying to design a building or a mechanical device without Computer-Aided Design (CAD)! TurboPatent is doing for patents what CAD did for architects and engineers – software to help professionals complete their goals more efficiently and with better quality.
2. What specific problem does TurboPatent solve? How do you solve it?
BM: The traditional process for creating patents relies on hiring outside intellectual property (IP) attorneys, who use a manual process to draft, file, and prosecute patent applications. While this expensive, manual approach can work for companies with large budgets and dedicated IP resources, it is unaffordable for many small and medium-sized companies. Consequently, these organizations are left with an IP protection gap – the gap between the the amount of invention from a company and how much of it is protected. Failure to close this gap engenders risk to the company's investors, employees, and even its clients.
TurboPatent helps companies protect more of their inventions, more easily and at a lower cost. Our patent drafting services combine the knowhow of patent engineers with domain expertise and proprietary AI-based tools. The result is high-quality patent applications in half the time and for nearly half the cost. By utilizing AI technology to perform some of the drafting and review tasks that attorneys normally perform, TurboPatent can charge less, while preventing common human-made drafting errors that can lead to longer patent times. TurboPatent also provides objective analytics that predict the likelihood of a patent being granted for an invention before a company spends time and money pursuing a patent.
3. What’s the future of the Legal industry?
Prediction #1: More functions will either be brought in-house or will be performed by outsourced firms to improve efficiency, quality and cost.
Prediction #2: Law firms will feel pressure to streamline their traditional business model.
Prediction #3: The legal industry will need to get in front of the technological change in order to stay relevant. Adopting automation, AI, and other technologies will be crucial.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in the Legal industry?
Trend #1: Artificial intelligence is pervading practices to provide optimal yield, real-time decision support and to identify items humans have trouble identifying.
Trend #2: Customer experience will be integrated with the legal process to deliver visibility, transparency and efficiency.
Trend #3: Automation will be incorporated at all points of the legal process to enable highly skilled professionals to focus on what’s really important and reduce costs.
5. Why is the Legal industry ripe for disruption?
1) The business model has too much cost structure.
2) Law firms are slow to adopt technology.
3) Tech firms can move more quickly than law firms.
About Byron McCann
Byron McCann is the COO of TurboPatent Corp., which leverages his passion for innovation, entrepreneurs, and creating value in growing ventures. He is the founding partner of Ascent Partners, which focuses on investments, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic alliances for clean tech and IT companies. Byron was Co-chair of Element 8 (formerly Northwest Energy Angels) for five years, a clean tech private angel investor group, where he is currently on the board. He was the Pacific Northwest Regional Director of the Cleantech Open for four years.
Formerly, Byron was a venture partner at Prism Capital. He was CEO of Service Intelligence, a venture-backed, retail customer experience measurement company, which was acquired. Byron co-founded genSoft, which developed the first Windows database and was acquired by Computer Associates. He was COO of a cable television advertising venture acquired by TCI, and was with Ernst & Young’s national telecommunications consulting practice. Byron was vice chairman of the Washington Technology Industry Association, and was on the board of NW Entrepreneur Network.