We are thrilled to announce 2018’s IP League Table rankings that marked the number of IP100 entrants exceeding 150 and recognised a number of new entrants which have leapt into our top 20. Notably, our 2018 IP League Table also features many innovative companies that work with our partners and sponsors.
M Squared, a photonics technology company, successfully retained its spot at the top of the IP League Table. Moving up to second place was P2i, a company specialising in liquid repellent nanocoatings, which improved on its third-place finish in 2017. Kromek, a company developing radiation detection solutions, completed this year’s top three following a marked improvement in its intellectual property (IP) management from last year.
Our wholehearted congratulations to our 2018 table-toppers, and to all IP League Table entrants for the tremendous investment they have made over the past twelve months in developing and improving their IP portfolios and IP management strategies.
We believe a robust IP strategy can help mitigate the many risks faced by fast-growing innovative companies. We are excited to see that a number of new entrants with innovative technologies and products joined the IP100 this year, including Shot Scope Technologies, wOndary and Minerva Research Labs.
Lifescaped, a company that researches natural structures and procedures to create biomimetics, secured the number one spot in the Patents class. Lifescaped broadened its patent portfolio in the last year and successfully secured its first partner in the USA that will license its patents to support the launch of a new product. Wearable Technologies leapt into second place in the Patents class, in recognition of the improvements of its patent strategy that underpins the unique wearable-tech garments for industrial workers, designed to increase workplace safety and monitor workplace hazards. In third place, P2i secured a top spot thanks to its comprehensive internal patent procedures which include portfolio management, focus on invention disclosures and pre-filing diligence. In line with the growth and the plethora of IP service providers in the market, many entrants are now using third-party support to help them manage their patent portfolios and filing strategies.
Brand & Reputation continues to be the asset class with the highest average score within the IP League Table. Overall IP100 winner, M Squared, secured the number one spot for Brand & Reputation this year. This Scottish-based photonics business has established a template for success when it comes to brand management built on effective brand policies, an impressive track record of winning awards and a focus on activities that enhance its market reputation. M Squared is reaping the benefits of its brand strategy, successfully entering new markets and continuing to expand. Second place was secured by Digitonic, a technology-driven mobile marketing company that made significant improvements to its trade mark portfolio this year, registering marks for a number of product brands and continuing to win industry accolades and build an international reputation. This strategy resulted in Digitonic significantly improving in the Brand & Reputation asset class. In third place was Dogtag, the high-adventure sports insurer that has focused on developing a consistent and universal brand image as it expands its travel insurance brand into new markets and services.
Trade Secrets was undoubtedly this year’s most improved IP asset class for the top performers. First-placed P2i, made significant improvements thanks to a complete overhaul of its trade secret management, including the drafting of a new trade secret policy and the provision of company wide staff training around the importance of trade secrets in business. Digitonic improved its position having developed its own internal wiki to manage its trade secret register and implemented further protection clauses to its employee contracts and NDAs. These improvements earned second place in this category. Third place was secured by Lifescaped, which relies on strict use of embargoes and NDAs to ensure its innovative technology and ideas are adequately protected. Top performers aside, Trade Secrets continues to be an overlooked asset class among many IP League Table entrants. This is an area that will doubtless garner more attention in June this year with the implementation of the EU Trade Secrets Directive offering companies greater legal protection from trade secret theft.
Digitonic retained its spot at number one in the Critical Databases table this year thanks to its extensive experience in data compliance and controls, updated in light of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Synoptica, a company that offers an innovative data gathering service for customers through the company’s online software platform, scored highly in second place. Its platform enables customers to easily compile public information about a target business in a digital report, which has allowed Synoptica to collect a host of data and analytics over the years. In third place was new entrant, Shot Scope Technologies, a company reliant on critical datasets, which has developed a GPS golf watch and performance tracking software for golfers, and has subsequently mapped hundreds of golf courses around the world using its technology. Although GDPR may have focused people’s minds on the importance of clean data, it’s clear in the current market that “rich” data on customers, their behaviour and their interactions with products and services are important to any successful business model and so database management continues to be vital to B2B and B2C companies. In order to facilitate the collection of “rich” data, companies appear to be moving away from basic database packages such as Microsoft Excel, and purchasing licences to use complex database systems, such as Salesforce and Zoho. 84% of entrants have now migrated from Excel to a more sophisticated system, up from 66% the previous year.
2018’s Software table was topped by new entrant Polarisoft, a small but growing SaaS business. Its business management software package, PPM Anywhere, helps companies manage teams and projects effectively. Polarisoft was able to achieve the top spot thanks to the company’s exceptional software development standards and procedures, ensuring all code is stored, documented, and developed to high standards. MATIVISION, a company with virtual reality streaming technology, achieved second place having made notable improvements in its product to widen its use in multiple markets including medical education and training. Its modular development approach has enabled MATIVISION to easily add new functionality to its software code without major rewrites. Synoptica, the developer of an innovative data gathering service, completed this year’s top three. Software continues to be an area in which IP100 entrants invest heavily with more than 10% having spent over £250k on software development to date. This innovation spend does not solely relate to the coding elements of software development, for entrants are also investing in their software documentation, both for developers and users, with 82% of entrants having created full developer documentation alongside their suites of software packages.
Our 2018 IP League Table trends were largely driven by regulation. We saw a significant increase in the average score in the Critical Databases asset class, with companies now looking to strengthen their internal data protection policies with GDPR looming on the horizon in 2018. More companies are now ensuring their client lists and CRM databases are password protected, securely stored and managed, and restricted only to those who require access to carry out their professional responsibilities. Only 9% of entrants currently allow unrestricted access to their Critical Databases for all staff. The same was true for Trade Secrets in light of the upcoming EU Trade Secrets Directive, which aims to standardise the national laws in EU countries against the unlawful acquisition, disclosure and use of trade secrets. With more legal protection on offer for those safeguarding their trade secrets, many entrants appear to have taken the initiative and created their own trade secret policies. 26% of entrants now have such policies in place, which is an increase on 2017’s figure of 18%.
This year’s IP League Table top performers were again dominated by entrants in the ICT & Software industry sector, who made up 40% of the IP League Table’s top 20 across all five IP asset classes. This was largely driven by a strong performance from ICT & Software sector entrants across three asset classes important to them: Critical Databases, Trade Secrets, and, of course, Software. Entrants from the Material Science & Engineering industry sector accounted for almost 20% of the total, which represents a 5% increase from the previous year. Interestingly, entrants from this sector scored well in the Patent IP asset class, which suggests that we might finally be seeing an upturn in patent-backed innovation typical in this sector in the UK. It was, however, surprising to see that Material Science & Engineering companies also featured heavily in the Brand & Reputation asset class, which might suggest that those entrants are recognising the importance of developing strong brands as another key differentiator. The third largest industry sector representation was from entrants from the Oil, Gas & Renewables sector who represented just over 15% of the top 20 across the board, a 5% increase from the previous year. These numbers might suggest innovation in this sector is on the rise and they are maintaining their focus on IP development despite the downturn in the sector. The remaining top 20 entrants across each of the five IP asset classes were spread evenly across industry sectors, in line with last year’s data.
The IP League Table ranking process is based upon the assessment of the following five key IP asset classes: Brand & Reputation, Patents, Critical Databases, Software and Trade Secrets. These IP asset classes are consistently recognised as being the key IP assets owned and exploited by highly successful companies. They are used to create effective and robust barriers to entry, and typically underpin the competitive advantages needed for rapid growth and international expansion.
We introduced a change to the IP100 scoring system this year, increasing the maximum score count to 360 points. This was to take account not only of the impact of impending GDPR and the Trade Secrets Directive, but also to allow clear differentiation between entrants as we found that many had actively sought to increase their inventory of IP assets, improve their management of IP and better align their IP portfolio and IP strategy with their business objectives. Since all of these factors resonate with investors seeking growing companies with robust and scalable competitive advantages, it followed that the IP100 scoring should reflect these elements.
We welcomed two new sponsors to the IP100: ArchOver, a peer-to-peer business lending platform that has facilitated in excess of £65 million of funding since its incorporation in 2014; and Haseltine Lake, a European firm of patent and trade mark attorneys. ArchOver and Haseltine Lake join the impressive line-up of existing IP100 sponsors, including Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank, and Safeguard IP. Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank’s growth finance team helps a broad range of businesses to borrow money based on the quality and extent of their IP and has provided in excess of £130m to IP-rich companies in the last few years. Safeguard IP provides businesses with IP insurance to help mitigate a whole host of risks associated with managing IP portfolios.
We have hosted numerous IP100 Club events throughout the year with the help of our sponsors and IP100 Champions, including LSEG ELITE, Addleshaw Goddard, Crowe Clark Whitehill, The Manufacturers’ Organisation EEF, Baker Botts and SAS Software. IP100 Club events are held across the UK and attract entrants from the IP League Table, IP100 Champions, sponsors and investors. They provide a forum to share information on how to better manage and exploit IP assets, and also give IP-rich companies an opportunity to network and learn from each other’s experiences of growth and expansion. We recently introduced our IP100 Club roundtable events, run exclusively for entrants and sponsors, which are focused on IP-related learning opportunities. Our IP100 Club events continue to raise awareness of the importance and the financial value of IP, ensuring that the IP100 remains one of the UK’s fast-growing platforms for scalable IP-rich companies seeking investment.