Managing protection of intellectual property at Inteum
What: Seattle-based Inteum
Who: Rob Sloman, 53, CEO and founder
Mission: Provide a way companies can manage the protection and commercialization of inventions and intellectual property.
Financials: Revenue comes from subscription, service and training fees. Aside from three months in 2009, Sloman said the company has been profitable since its founding in 1992.
Better mousetrap: Gaining a patent, which Sloman calls "very intensive and iterative," is just the beginning. What follows is a maze of requirements and procedures to get to market while protecting royalties and licenses. "The sheer volume of products companies need to manage has grown tremendously," Sloman said. "Our system is tailor-made in order to bring multiple products through the commercialization process."
Timing is everything: This market was created by Bayh-Dole Act in 1980, which allowed universities to share in the profits of products created in research labs. This brings with it a series of complex requirements, for which Inteum provides prompting. "Our system reminds you of the upcoming deadlines, which can literally protect billions of dollars in income," Sloman said.
Streamlining: The slow economy has motivated inventors while making it harder to get projects off the ground. Inteum's latest salvo is a Web-based version of its product. This is coupled with increased efficiency and attention to customer service. "We have needed to make our delivery of services more efficient and less expensive," Sloman said. "We do less travel, and instead conduct most of our training in scheduled two-hour chunks. In the past, traveling to a training session took three days to accomplish."
— Charles Bermant