Featured Startup Pitch: SmartUp seeks to solve the sticky problem of quality patent filings for SMBs

By Editor August 8, 2013
Mike Avady, SmartUp

Mike Avady, SmartUpBy Mike Avady, founder

Elevator Pitch: Use our tools to patent applications, then connect to a patent attorney who optimizes your work. Quality patents at a fraction of the cost.

Product/Service Overview

We have developed the first and only online platform that allows inventors to collaborate with patent attorneys in the patent drafting and filing process. The platform (SmartUp’s proprietary ‘Attorney-Collaboration Platform’) empowers inventors with the tools and attorney guidance for patent drafting, and then connects the inventors to patent attorneys who oversee, optimize, and properly file their application to timely secure ‘Patent Pending’ status.

Founders’ Story

We could clearly see that in view of the AIA [America Invents Act], those who would now need Intellectual Property (IP) services the most could not afford the attorneys’ fees associated with IP protection. So, we met and allied with other patent and trademark attorneys, entrepreneurs, web developers, investors, and established business leaders to create SmartUp—an affordable online IP protection platform designed with the inventor and entrepreneur in mind. We then formed a network of experienced patent attorneys to assist in the cause!

We envisioned a platform that will help entrepreneurs, small businesses, and independent inventors to identify, protect, and manage the IP aspects of their ideas and ventures. Today, the vision is a reality as SmartUp serves inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses across the nation with free consultations and an extensive knowledge center.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

My goal is to place SmartUp at the heart of the startup communities. This is why currently we have been partnering with accelerators and incubators. Partnerships are expanding to the sponsorship of student entrepreneurship competitions as well. The idea is for SmartUp to be wherever startups are, educating them about the changed laws and how they can protect themselves. Educating the entrepreneur community is the biggest reason we built an extensive knowledge center and allow startups to ask attorneys free questions.

Within social media our approach is to have conversations with startups. Instead of the typical approach of building followers and then blasting random pseudo interesting facts, we are slowly building our following in order to be able to keep up with the conversations.

Market Opportunity

The market opportunity we identified is the small-to medium-sized business segment that have novel innovations. We found that the highest percentage of companies that have novel ideas is within startups. There are typically more than 800,000 new companies founded each year in the United States, of which 7 percent are founded as corporations (or about 56,000 businesses). These 56,000 new corporations that get started every year are our most probable customers. The other part of the equation is the amount filing every year. Currently there are about 500,000 filings everywhere by corporations, solo inventors and institutions. SmartUp predicts a heavy surge in filings year-over-year due to patent reform. One percent market cap of those filings is $4.5 million of revenue for SmartUp and our attorney network.

How We Differentiate From the Competition

Prior to the release of SmartUp, if a solo inventor or an early-stage CEO wanted to protect his innovation, they would have three options: 1.) learn to draft and file for patent on their own; 2.) go with a ‘fill-in-the-blank’ template service like LegalZoom; or 3.) retain representation from an IP firm.

Options one and two likely won’t lead to any type of enforceable patent protection, and option three…well…just isn’t an affordable option. We know that inventors and entrepreneurs need more than just an online patent filing tool. In fact, more often than not, a mere do-it-yourself patent filing tool won’t get you the enforceable patent protection you had in mind. A licensed and experienced Patent Attorney or Patent Agent should always at least oversee the patent application process. However, you don’t need to go with an expensive law firm to find quality patent work. SmartUp has developed a network of experienced patent attorneys who are willing to put in the time to help early-stage companies, in hopes that the early-stage company will one day become a big client.

Business Model  

As of now, we offer four optimization packages. The packages range in pricing and level of involvement, and all include guidance from licensed patent attorneys in nearly every field of invention.

Current Needs

Our current needs are to be able to educate on a more massive scale. For this we are exploring hiring for marketing positions.

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IP SmartUp logoCompany: SmartUp

Website: www.ipsmartup.com

Headquarters: Atlanta

Year Founded: 2012

Founder: Mike Avady

Twitter: @smartUp_

Facebook: facebook.com/ipsmartup

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/ipsmartup