Turning innovation into growth with a helping hand from IPHatch
Managing IP hears from Jason Loh, the creator of an open innovation competition and programme that aims to accelerate the development of technology start-ups by connecting them with patent-rich multinationals
The patent assets of multinational corporations (MNCs) can be substantial but underutilised. Managing IP has learnt about a platform that attempts to put these intellectual property (IP) resources to better use in an exclusive interview with Jason Loh, the founder and CEO of Piece Future, the private IP bank based in Singapore.
Piece Future manages IP portfolios for high-tech corporations and institutions worldwide, and has developed IPHatch, an open innovation concept that aims to help companies to scale rapidly. Beyond fuelling the growth of promising companies, IPHatch also encourages start-ups to use innovative technologies to benefit wider society, and provides access to resources and networks globally.
Inaugurated in 2017, IPHatch is now run in nine countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong SAR, and the UK – through working with various government-related agencies. Hong Kong Trade Development Council has been co-organising IPHatch Hong Kong with Piece Future since 2018 and this year IPHatch Asia is housed in Hong Kong, aiming to attract tech start-ups from Asia to set up and utilise the city as a pivotal base for IP and tech commercialisation.
Managing IP: What IP market need did the creation of IPHatch address?
Jason Loh: Multinational technology corporations are constantly seeking new business and value creation opportunities. Many of them are sitting on a vast amount of world-changing inventions in the form of patent assets that were underutilised due to business decisions.
IPHatch is an open innovation competition and programme designed to leverage IP-rich MNCs’ invaluable intangible assets and seed them into socially impactful early-stage tech start-ups. Our programme empowers sustainable innovations for multinational technology corporations to extract new value from their vast amount of unexploited patent assets through open innovation with start-ups.
We believe that IP-rich MNCs have a unique opportunity to drive social impact by sharing their valuable intangible assets with early-stage tech start-ups. By doing so, they can help these start-ups build a solid technology foundation that will enable them to scale up and sustain growth.
Our platform connects IP education, investment opportunities for multinational technology corporations, and the start-up ecosystem globally. We are committed to empowering sustainable innovations that will drive positive change in the world. It is an amazing sharing economy concept and an innovative form of investment in the tech arena, creating win-win benefits for all related parties.
What are the present IP challenges for start-ups and how can IPHatch help to overcome those?
A lot of start-ups struggle to file and get their first patent as it is a very time-consuming and costly exercise. One needs to conduct R&D and pay filing expenses, and there is no guarantee for successful filing even if they can afford the time and financial cost. Furthermore, most start-ups in their early days are very occupied with their product and business building, and tend not to focus much on IP and especially patents due to their high costs.
IPHatch hopes to empower start-ups with core technology seeds from multinational technology corporations so that they can focus on their business building. With an already granted patent, they stand a higher chance of expanding their patent portfolios if they focus on building on such patents.
Thus, the IPHatch programme provides a feasible way for start-ups to obtain the relevant and right patents for their business.
How do you see the future of IP developing for innovative start-ups?
From the past six years of running the IPHatch programme in Asia, we are impressed by how increasingly IP- and tech-savvy most of the IPHatch start-ups are.
Through our programme, we educate and mentor start-ups on the MNCs’ way of innovation, as well as IP strategy building. We envision and hope that some of these start-ups will become the next tech giant in the future and make a positive impact, while embracing the benefits of having a sound IP strategy.
We are confident that they will be able to disrupt the IP landscape in the years to come, and we will keep encouraging them until the finish line.
Could you provide some examples of how the IPHatch programme has helped start-ups?
IPHatch offers IP education, market knowledge, and business and entrepreneurship support to start-ups through different activities and means:
IP and market intelligence seminars;
Business modelling and patent matching workshops; and
IPHatch incubation support – business and technology development advisory, IP strategies and consultation, exposure and access to MNCs, VC networks, overseas market expansions support, and media and publicity exposure.
Find out more
An accompanying article explains how IPHatch has helped AREIX, a personal finance management company that uses AI and machine learning in the development of robo-assistant services.
Interested in becoming part of the IPHatch programme? Click here to find out how.