Insights from Bluedot Innovation’s Filip Eldic, and Madderns Electronics and ICT specialist Bill McFarlane.
Research and Development firm Bluedot Innovation delivers precise and easy to use location services technology to the world’s most exciting companies.
Madderns has worked with Bluedot throughout their rapid and meteoric rise, from a two-man tech startup in early 2013 to a successful software business now running offices in Melbourne, Australia and San Francisco, USA.
“Our Bluedot Point Software Develop Kit product enables mobile apps to trigger any action — like opening websites, sending messages and playing video — when users walk or drive through precise locations set anywhere in the world,” says Filip Eldic, Bluedot Co-Founder and Executive Director.
“Amongst many recent examples, the largest client contract we’ve signed to date is an AU$24 million, 14 market deal.”
But in the early days, all Filip and co-founder Emil Davityan had was an idea, drawn as a flow chart on paper. That was enough to get started on protecting their intellectual property (IP).
“Protecting our IP right from the beginning has been instrumental in allowing us to develop our products and to raise capital at strong valuations.”
Bluedot is now in the position to tap into a global location services market that is expected to grow to US$39 billion by 2019.
Protecting IP key to success
Bluedot co-founders Filip Eldic and Emil Davityan prioritised protection of their IP as a core component of their commercial strategy.
“Right from the outset, we decided to consciously invest in protecting our IP,” explains Filip.
This has paid dividends not just in ensuring peace of mind to limit copycat activity, but also from a growth perspective.
“When originally raising investment, we had no physical product so we needed to provide solidity and assurance for investors,” says Filip.
“Having a patent already filed at such an early stage gave us a significant ability to raise money at a good evaluation.”
Bluedot has attracted approximately AU$4 million in funding since the very early days of their operations, and are now working with top tier investors in Australia and the US to raise a substantial round for the next stage of the company’s growth.
“If we didn’t generate quality IP, underpinned through a comprehensive IP strategy, these capital raises would have taken place at much lower evaluations and we wouldn’t be able to provide clear assurances to clients around ownership and access to IP,” Filip says.
Working in partnership with Madderns
Bluedot co-founder Filip Eldic explains that Madderns have been a crucial part of their success.
“When we first met with Bill McFarlane, he realised we had a unique and valuable idea that could transform mobile location services,” says Filip.
“Since then, Madderns have been an incredibly good partner for us.”
He says Madderns have been strategic and flexible, and worked with Bluedot to manage budgets as their startup was growing and cost-conscious.
“Without that flexibility we wouldn’t have been able to work in this space,” explains Filip.
“No other firm came close to Madderns in terms of expertise, approach, and flexibility.”
Expert guidance for patenting technical innovation
Part of both the Electronics and ICT teams at Madderns, Bill McFarlane worked with Bluedot to develop, file and progress patent applications to ensure IP protection in selected countries across the world.
Bluedot owns patent applications that protect the highly unique and commercially valuable aspects of their software capability. This includes the application of geofences to trigger actions, and reduced phone battery drainage associated with use of the mobile device as it pinpoints locations anywhere in the world.
Bill explains the steps in protecting technological inventions through patenting.
“In Australia, the first step in the process is to file a provisional patent application, a figurative flag in the sand that places a ‘first to file’ date on the intellectual property,” says Bill.
The provisional application does not provide any rights to enforcement, and is effective for 12 months. The client can use that time to file further provisional applications as the idea develops, and importantly to decide whether to file complete patent applications in Australia or another country.
The filing of a complete application can be achieved through filing an International (PCT) application.
“The PCT application acts like a global reservation system,” Bill explains.
“You file a single complete application, and that delivers you the right to file in 148 countries around the world.”
The 148 countries are signatories to the Patent Cooperation Treaty, and include Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, India, USA, Canada, much of Europe, some South American countries, parts of Africa and several Arab States. The PCT application is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Filing a PCT application provides the applicant with another 18 months of protection, during which time they can assess individual markets and decide which countries in which to submit the patent applications.
“Once you’ve reached this point and made your assessment of the patent coverage that best suits your commercial strategies, you enter the national phase of the PCT application system. Bluedot are currently at this point, selecting chosen countries with two of their patent applications,” says Bill.
Bill also provides Bluedot with strategic trademarks advice and filing services, another important aspect of IP protection for tech startups.
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Contact Bill at Bill.McFarlane@madderns.com.au