Anaqua: A Global IP Management Platform Company That Manages 25% of the World's IP
By Alexander Culafi
“Intellectual property has become – in many instances – the most valuable asset on a company’s balance sheet,” Anaqua CEO Bob Romeo said.
Intellectual property (IP) protects the ideas that your company owns. It’s your patents, your trademarks, your copyrights, and in some cases, much more than that. For a company like IBM, it might not be enough to just hire someone – or even a team of people – to manage this. For context, IBM broke the U.S. patent record in 2016, with over 8,000 patents granted in a single year.
And so, for a company to manage so much IP, an analytics-driven platform like Anaqua’s can prove necessary. And in fact, it was necessary.
Anaqua was established in 2004 in response to an “important gap within enterprise software solutions,” according to Anaqua’s official website. Simply put, there was no unified IP management system.
In response to this problem, Anaqua worked with IP leaders from The Coca-Cola Company, Ford Motor Company, and British American Tobacco to develop specifications for a “new web-based, unified system for intellectual property – a comprehensive software platform capable of managing and automating the full IP lifecycle of patents, trademarks, designs, trade secrets and contracts.”
Now on the recently-released ANAQUA 9, the platform “unifies the critical tools, best practice workflows, data, documents and services into one efficient, intelligent environment so our clients operate more efficiently and make better decisions faster,” according to the company.
Between Anaqua, its merger with Lecorpio, and its acquisitions, the company has roughly 1,000 IP clients worldwide, including IBM, HP, and Honda. Collectively, Anaqua’s platform is used to manage up to 25% of the world’s IP.
Although different companies have different needs when it comes to IP software, Romeo explained that the core software is the same for every client, with different pricing depending on how many patents and trademarks a given client has. That said, because companies can have different needs, the platform can be customized with various add-on modules.
When it comes to Anaqua, the name of the game here is “growth,” especially in the years since Romeo joined in 2015 from Reed Elsevier. Under his leadership, the company has announced four major acquisitions, including ideaPoint in September 2015, AcclaimIP and Free Patents Online in April 2016, and Patent River in June 2016.
He was also there for Anaqua’s merger with Lecorpio in July of this year.
“Our roots were very, very similar. We’re both based in innovation, both very young companies, and we both really believed that bringing both companies together would give us an opportunity to take advantage of our strengths, and create something that is even better than what we had individually,” Romeo explained.
Anaqua’s growth is occurring at every level. In 2015, the company maintained roughly 150 employees and 375 clients. Today, Anaqua has about 320 worldwide employees (with 120 in Boston), and has nearly tripled its client count.
In its success, Anaqua has been recognized for two awards in the past year. This spring, Hyperion MarketView recognized Anaqua as “Law Firm Software Leader,” while, last winter, the company was recognized as a “Market Leader” in Hyperion’s 2016 report for IP management systems.
Anaqua is headquartered in Downtown Boston, but maintains a total of 10 offices between Massachusetts, California, Utah, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy, and India.
This global physical presence is a must, due to the company’s expansion plans, as well as the fact that F500 companies like HP and Honda require global support. IP needs to be filed separately for every part of the world it maintains a presence in.
This gives Anaqua an advantage over other IP management companies in Europe and especially Asia, who might not be able to support large companies with international needs.
“We have global customers all over the world. When you’re in Japan, you need to be there. You need to be where your customers are.”
To cap off the interview, I asked the CEO about his proudest moment since joining Anaqua.
“I don’t think I can think of just one, so I’ll tell you what I told the board. I think we have great momentum. The merger with Lecorpio is going very well. We’ve got the two businesses working very well together. We have a very, very strong pipeline, and we’re running after it very, very hard. It just feels really good right now.”