Tech startup PatentStatus counting victories

March 6, 2013
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It seems fitting that the America Invents Act spurred Indianapolis product-development pro James Burnes to conjure up a business that helps companies manage their intellectual property portfolios online.

PatentStatus launched in January 2012—mere months after President Obama signed the legislation updating U.S. patent law. Among its changes: a provision allowing patent holders to use a web address to mark protected products. Traditionally, individual patent numbers have been imprinted on the products themselves.

Burnes recognized the opportunity and enlisted the help of a development team from local software firm WDDinc. They built an online platform capable of handling millions of patent records, and Burnes set out to sell the idea to patent attorneys.

He scored an early win, prevailing in a startup competition with a juicy prize: tickets to watch the 2012 Super Bowl with Startup America CEO Scott Case. Burnes got feedback on his idea from Case (who was Priceline.com’s founding chief technology officer) and access to hundreds of decision makers in Indianapolis for the big game.

A year later, PatentStatus is still counting victories—the most recent coming March 1, when the company was named the Entrepreneurship Advancement Center’s Top Emerging Business for 2013. The Fishers-based not-for-profit supports innovation.

Burnes is just as proud of another achievement: The company is making money.

“We are cash-flow positive,” he said. “There’s still a lot of room to grow, but that’s huge.”

PatentStatus has landed a number of out-of-state clients in the consumer products, life sciences and medical-device industries, he said. It also has a robust pipeline of prospects including global brands such as Briggs & Stratton, Kimberly Clark and Caterpillar.

While virtual patent marking remains the firm’s primary service, Burnes has found plenty of demand for its patent-tracking platform, which helps companies understand how they are using existing patents.

“That’s the icing on the cake,” Burnes said.

Burnes financed the startup himself, but took Case’s advice and found investors to help grow the business. He declined to share specifics, saying only that he raised “more than six figures” from a number of private investors.

“I feel good about the future,” he said.

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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