“VPATAPP” Interview: A repository of patent-related data

VPATAPPRecently, I was lucky enough to find “VPATAPP”, a useful mobile app for patent enthusiasts (from professionals, such as patent agents or lawyers to research centres) across the world, since it constitutes a one-stop destination for accessing all authentic data related to patent world. The app brings specific patent information regarding industries like automobiles, electronics, information and communications technology (ICT), healthcare, pharmaceuticals, oil/gas and biotechnology. The information is updated quarterly and new features will be added in the near future. Currently, the app provides rapid links to:
  1. Directory of global patent law firms
  2. Worldwide patent related blogs
  3. Patent search websites available from patent offices across the world
  4. Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs)
  5. Updated full patent acts available from national/regional/international patent offices
  6. Weekly or monthly official gazettes and registers ordered by countries/regions or organisations
  7. Patent related journals
  8. Patent related LLM, masters and courses offered by different centres in the world
  9. Patent classification systems
  10. Latest news about case law, events, decisions/reports from patent offices and antitrust agencies, book publishing and research papers

Once I tried out the app, several questions came to my mind. Thus, I reckoned it interesting to interview Mr. Vijay Shivpuje, the leader of the team who launched the app and who recently became a member of New IP Lawyers  (you can find his profile here). Vijay, to whom I am obliged for his readiness to collaborate with the IPowL blog, is originally from India and associated with a multinational pharmaceutical generic organisation in the same country.

  • How did you come up with the idea of creating VPATAPP?
    The idea of creating VPATAPP was a result of making a difference in the patent community with a vision to create a one-stop destination for all the needs of the patent law firms, industries, associations, universities, service providers, patent examiners and everyone who is associated with this vibrant field. And with the penetration of mobile devices globally, it made sense to design a mobile app rather than a website.

Actually, it is the outcome of more than a decade of experience in patent prosecution, patent searching, patent litigation and patent licensing within various industries and the everyday minor problems faced working therein. The industries need to get authentic web resources in various countries about patent law. Besides, the idea was to connect effectively both the industry and the legal community. Usually, lawyers’ efforts to get information about services and expertise remain within the bounds of case law and journals. However, what is important is to disseminate this knowledge in the benefits of the industry and the society in general.

  • Based on your experience as a practitioner, in what sense did you notice the lack of connection between industry and legal community?
    Nowadays, the access to legal updates is confined to law journals, case law and blogs. In a techno-legal field as patents, what is important is to make these sources available also to industries, to help them to better understand the legal complexities attached to each industrial domain. As far as the legal community is concerned, the fact of sharing this information across the industry, provides them the opportunity to explore the industrial requirements and the current trends in a given industrial sector. Therefore, knowledge dissemination free of cost help all stakeholders.
  • Returning to the app, how does the app disseminate the relevant knowledge to industries and patent lawyers?
    Through this tiny app, we want to offer an easy access to relevant information for industry (non-lawyers) and legal community. For patents agents and professionals, what is significant is to gather pertinent information to prepare, file, and prosecute patent applications. To that end, the app offers them a global, swift and handy access to patent search websites, full patent acts, official gazettes and registers and patent blogs.
    To collate all this data in continuously updated form and per each country is not a trivial task, since we also have to overcome language and cultural barriers.

For lawyers, the app collects the latest updates regarding case law, legislation amendments, latest articles published by scholars, events and law firms, which saves a considerable amount of time researching.

But as I mentioned before, one of the main goals of the app is to connect effectively the industry and the legal community through an interdisciplinary collaboration. So what we aim is that the app becomes a platform that enables share of expertise and knowledge about patents between lawyers and non-lawyers.

  • Which criteria does the app use to achieve the patent data completeness?
    We cannot talk about complete patent data due to the rapid changes happening in the domain. We track all the websites containing patent law information in order to update or add new data.
    Fortunately, the team’s rich experience in the patent domain in several industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals, veterinary products, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) or mechanical devices, makes easier for all of us to keep track of these websites.

Moreover, we are always willing to add new blogs and law firms (patents) to the app absolutely free of cost.

  • Taking into account your previous answer and that you have a background in Law and Pharma, I suppose that the team you are leading is also a multidisciplinary one (composed of lawyers and non-lawyers), is not it?
    Yes, we have both lawyers and non-lawyers. It is a mix of both of them.
  • VPATAPP will be launching its next version in the near future introducing patent status and patent translation services. Will it also contain other new features, such as patent information from countries not included in the app, patent case law or a directory of industrial standards?
    Currently, we are working on including patent information from countries not included in the app and also on the case law part. The industrial standards’ directory is on the cards, but it will not be added in the near future. Above all, we need to keep all the information updated, which is a tedious task.
  • The VPATAPP is a data collection app that connects the users to various free patent search websites. In the future, would you also like to work on legal analytics (cleaning, coding, and tagging all patent data) or on the formulation of algorithms to solve specific patent problems?
    Thanks for the wonderful idea. We would definitely work on them, if the technological development could be carried out within the app’s framework and is cost effective.
  • Bearing in mind that VPATAPP is constantly evolving, would you be interested in crowdsourcing the app (in form of funding, legal assistance or coding work)
    Broadly speaking, we are looking for like minded partners who could take the product to the next level.
    In respect of funding, we are looking for someone who understands the intellectual property (IP) business and contributes to the cause, rather than simply funding.
    Likewise, we are seeking help from various law firms in terms of technical inputs who are willing to develop a long term partnership, in place of providing specific legal assistance.
  • Mr. Vijay Shivpuje, I would like to thank you for your willingness to provide us further information about VPATAPP and for contributing to the development of new technologies that make certain stages of legal research more efficient for IP law practitioners.

I would like to end by stressing that New IP Lawyers is also fully convinced that an interdisciplinary collaboration allows problems to be addressed in a wider context, especially when solutions can only be found through combinations of disciplinary approaches and perspectives.
Hence,  I truly hope that this post inspires and stimulates IP passionates to work on the interdisciplinary field of IP law and informatics, since as Warren Buffett said: “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”.

Download VPATAPP:
This app is available free of cost on Google Play (android) and App Store (iOS).

If you would like more information or get in touch with Mr. Vijaykumar Shivpuje, you might do it on: +919768665354; or at: vijayksl123@gmail.com



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