Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
A user-friendly web tool to simplify the process of combing through millions of international patents has been named a finalist in The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School Enterprize business plan competition.

Brisbane-based HaystackHQ has designed a web-based patent search and analysis application that “maps” results, displaying them in a topographical landscape to make it easier to identify groups of patents and how crowded those groups are.

The software’s creators are HaystackHQ’s Chief Executive Officer, Lachlan James, and Chief Technical Officer and IT researcher, Ricky Robinson.

Academic Dean and Head of UQ Business School, Professor Iain Watson, said HaystackHQ had shown innovation in both its concept and in identifying its target market.

“Like the other Enterprize finalists, HaystackHQ has clearly demonstrated entrepreneurial flair, setting out in its business plan where the market need is for its software, the competitive solution it has to address it, and a clear vision of the way forward,” Professor Watson said.

Mr James said HaystackHQ’s purpose was two-fold: to make patent searching simpler than “looking for a needle in a haystack” and perhaps more importantly, show searchers “which haystack to look in”.

“It’s great to have a cool idea or invention, but before you get excited about developing it you need to find out who else in the world might be working on it, what patents already exist, and where you fit in,” Mr James said.

“There might be 1000, or even 10,000 related patents that you should be reading to find out. That’s a tedious process. What our tool does is find the patents, read them, figure out what similarities or relationships there are between them, then take those long lists and put them in groups, that are represented in a topographical map of mountains and valleys. The size of the mountain indicates the amount of patents.

“You can then drag patent information on your invention onto the map and see where your idea would be. If it’s on top of a mountain, that’s probably not good news. It means you are in a pile of people doing similar things.

“But if it’s in the valley somewhere, while there is no guarantee you’ve got a brilliant patent idea, it’s in an area that’s not densely populated. So you can very quickly narrow down the search to the patents you should read closely that are nearest to your idea.”

HaystackHQ is now in the running to win the $100,000 in seed capital offered by UQ Business School through the Enterprize competition, Australia’s richest business competition now in its 11th year.

Mr James said winning Enterprize would be a “massive leg-up”.

“HaystackHQ is something Ricky and I have been doing out of work hours in our spare time,” he said. “The $100,000 would buy us the time to polish our product and get it to the marketplace.”

The Enterprize finalists have all been interviewed by an expert judging panel and are now busy preparing for their final chance to impress the judges at “Pitch Day’’ on October 13. The winner will be announced at the pitch day, which will be attended by venture capitalists and angel investors. For more information, visit www.business.uq.edu.au/enterprize

Contact Profile

Lachlan James

P: 0407 903 673
W: www.business.uq.edu.au/enterprize





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