Numerous satellites orbiting the Earth are each creating its data. In order to analyze such an extensive amount of satellite data quickly and accurately, a South Korean solution and platform provider adopted artificial intelligence technology.
SI Analytics (SIA), a Daejeon-based solution and platform provider, analyzes satellite and aerial images based on artificial intelligence. The company proved its technical skills by ranking 5th place in an AI competition held by the U.S. Department of Defense, and being selected as Excellent Proposal for future challenging defense technology R&D project by the Agency for Defense Development.
SIA is expanding its horizons by strategically applying AI video analysis technology in various fields. Its AI-based imagery analytics is utilized not only in the public sector such as national defense, natural disaster, and infrastructure establishment, but also in the private sector including agriculture.
SIA collaborated with PI IP LAW through the PI - IP SCALE UP program in order to resolve patent issues of the firm. PI - IP SCALE UP is our IP-led consulting program whose goal is to enhance corporate value. We have conducted an interview with SIA’s CEO Jeon Taegyun and Senior Researcher Yoon Kwangjin whom we have been collaborating with for the past 12 months.
“Many investors pointed out the importance of establishing an IP portfolio.”
▲SIA (SI Analytics) - CEO, Jeon Taegyun, giving a speech.
Jeon Taegyun, the CEO of SIA, mentions what he considered was problematic. “When assessing our corporate value in the initial stage of an investment, we always emphasized our strong technological expertise. However, our investors have commonly commented that we should first secure our patent rights and build an IP portfolio.”
“Since we didn’t own any patents in 2018 and 2019, we tried to prove our technical skills by explaining our research team’s composition, and also through our theses and AI competition awards. However, we were aware that there is a huge difference between holding patents and not.” (Yoon Kwangjin, Senior Researcher at SIA)
“We also faced difficulties when we were preparing for New Excellent Technology (NET) and New Excellent Product (NEP) certifications, as we failed to prepare patents or other certification references regarding the technology.” (Jeon Taegyun, CEO at SIA)
*NET and NEP are government certifications established to certify new technologies and products that have been newly developed in Korea, and to support technology development and commercialization.
“There were no IP specialists within the company who could write patent specifications or were familiar with patents. That’s why even though we had ideas, we found it challenging to register them as patents.” (Yoon Kwangjin, Senior Researcher at SIA)
For a technology company, lack of patents seems to raise various issues. And when the company is trying to attract investment, the need for patents becomes even more crucial.
“For us preparing an IPO, the value added through PI - IP SCALE UP was bigger than what we spent for the project”
▲SIA (SI Analytics) - CEO, Jeon Taegyun
The CEO questioned himself whether the PI - IP SCALE UP project was worth the price, and concluded that the project was definitely worth spending due to several reasons.
“▲First of all, I thought the program could be an opportunity to motivate our research team and increase the number of patents being applied and registered. I was also thinking of implementing a ‘patent encouragement fee system’ to give incentives to researchers .
“▲Second, the consulting program could help researchers organize their ideas which they only kept in their minds, and enhance better understanding of patents in the entire company.”
“▲Third, as we were aiming to file for an IPO and enter a market in its early stage, we thought it was necessary to establish an IP portfolio both domestically and globally, and preoccupy technology in advance.”
Senior Researcher Yoon Kwangjin also adds his opinion to the CEO. “I believed that the costs spent in IP enforcement will return in greater value when the company is listed in a special technology growth IPO.”
“There will be bigger losses in the future if we hesitate registering patents or building IP portfolios right now to save some money. That’s why I never thought that the consulting fee was too much.”
“Since we don’t have any internal patent specialists, we would have to spend a great amount of time and resources to resolve any possible patent related issues by ourselves. As it is important for us to concentrate our time and resources, I thought it would be a smart strategy to work with PI IP LAW.” (Senior Researcher, Yoon Kwangjin)
Jeon shared his story on how the PI - IP SCALE UP program directly contributed to SIA.
“Around the end of the PI - IP SCALE UP project, we pitched for several series B investments. Through the project, we applied and registered major patents in a short period of time and had a well-established IP portfolio that visualizes our IP rights. Thanks to PI - IP SCALE UP, our technological power and competitiveness was recognized by investors.”
It seems that PI - IP SCALE UP’s true qualities are proven in the process of attracting investment. We are also happy to hear that the objectives of the program have been successfully met.
“We even thought, are patent attorneys at PI IP LAW conducting AI research?”
▲SIA (SI Analytics) - Senior Researcher, Yoon Kwangjin
Please share your experience working with PI IP LAW.
“Patent attorneys at PI IP LAW showed a deep understanding of the AI field. When we were preparing for patent registration, we dealt with theses on the most advanced AI technologies. I sometimes was even curious whether attorneys at PI IP are conducting separate research on deep learning. Thanks to PI IP’s experienced patent attorneys, we were able to register patents successfully.”
“I once worked with a different patent law firm before, and all they did was write a patent from a thesis. I’m not even sure if the patent was well registered or not.”
“At PI IP LAW, attorneys conduct prior art searches for all theses, and they give clear explanations on not only novelty itself, but also the reasons why it is novel or not. It was even more satisfactory as we could learn about our competitors too, such as what patents they are possessing, and what patents they have recently registered.” (Senior Researcher, Yoon Kwangjin)
“We are greatly satisfied with PI IP’s IP portfolio visualization framework”
▲A sample of PI - IP SCALE UP’s IP portfolio visualization framework
(Classification and data is an example)
PI - IP SCALE UP is a comprehensive IP service whose goal is to enhance corporate value. Not many patent law firms can provide such high-level services. What was most impressive for you when working with PI IP LAW through the PI - IP SCALE UP program?
“Many algorithms of the AI technology field have been disclosed recently, and therefore it is not easy to explain the superiority, effectiveness, and inventiveness of patents to external parties. In that sense, PI - IP SCALE UP’s framework of visualizing IP portfolios through a multi-dimensional axis was very useful. We could expand the framework by ourselves and also utilize it into a form that can be delivered to researchers, executives, VCs, and investors as well.”
“Through the IP portfolio visualization framework, we could easily figure out the patent status of the firm. For instance, we could identify which patents we are currently lacking or which patents should be enforced to meet our goals. Also, the framework became a reference for us when setting strategies on determining which patents should be disclosed.” (CEO, Jeon Taegyun)
Yoon also talks about the IP training program for engineers. “Through the IP training program, researchers were able to have a good grasp of patent procedures and key points in patentability. As a result, we could speed up the patent application process. By sharing organized ideas among researchers, the quality of research and development was improved and the number of patent applications increased naturally.”
“It was also surprising to know that our researchers were not always aware of the patent basics. For example, many of our researchers did not know that a thesis should be registered as a patent within a year from its publication, and that in Europe and China a technology should be registered as patent before being published in a thesis. Through the training program, our engineers now have a better understanding of patents.”
“Number of patents registered increased eightfold after the PI - IP SCALE UP project”
▲SIA (SI Analytics) is continuing its growth with PI - IP SCALE UP,
through value enhancement and to its goal of filing an IPO
Compared to the past when SIA didn’t participate in the PI - IP SCALE UP project, the number of patents registered by SIA has increased eightfold. What an eye-opening achievement for SIA! Could you please tell us how you feel?
“I am very happy that the number of our patents increased dramatically. Patents are important means that reflect a company’s competence. Increase in the number of patents registered will strengthen and escalate our corporate value.”
“The Commissioner of KIPO once visited the SIA office. I think he kept a close eye on us because we have been registering quite a number of patents. When he visited our office, we gave him an introduction of our company and he introduced us with patent related projects too.”
“Through PI - IP SCALE UP, we were able to build a robust IP portfolio and be recognized as a company with solid technological skills.” (Senior Researcher, Yoon Kwangjin)
Recently, SIA attracted a series B investment of KRW 10 billion. This means SIA’s enterprise value doubled compared to its series A level. Does SIA have any goals or plans for the future?
“Our goal for now is to secure 50 registered patents. We will continue our journey until we successfully complete the IPO.”
What a simple and clear answer. We strongly have the feeling that SIA will continue to strive as it has been doing so far. PI IP LAW is more than thrilled to contribute to SIA’s development.