About Steven Bittenson
Steven Bittenson is the founder of Concepdance, LLC, providing intellectual property, technical and technical management consulting services to high technology companies. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies in the medical device and capital equipment industries, NIST, and diverse startup companies.
An IP consultant for more than 20 years, Steve takes a systems approach to his work, providing a range of services, including contract IP liaison services, patent portfolio analysis, process modeling, and specification and prototype equipment development. He emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of IP work with a focus on fostering smooth, efficient and positive relationships among inventors, management and patent counsel.
Steve holds a Ph.D. in chemical physics, a B.S. in chemistry, and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a patent agent.
Time is money.
A phrase famously and fittingly attributed to an inventor and innovator—Benjamin Franklin.
It’s especially true for independent professionals who shoulder multiple responsibilities and manage numerous clients on a 1:1 basis.
– Time is valuable and can’t be wasted. Efficiency is essential to success.
Steven Bittenson owns Concepdance, LLC, an IP consulting practice based in Massachusetts. A chemical physicist by trade, he started consulting full-time after 20 years in academia and industry.
After a few years in business, Bittenson became registered to practice as a patent agent before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This turned out to be the sweet spot for his consultancy.
Bittenson now spends most of his time working as an intellectual property liaison for high-tech companies. His role is to be a bridge between inventors, management and patent counsel.
“My focus is to provide a smooth and efficient interface among inventors, management and counsel to support the client’s R&D workflow,” he said.
An IP liaison provides an array of services, but at a high level, Bittenson’s clients are primarily interested in these questions:
- Is my invention something that’s patentable?
- Can we overcome a reference from a competitor?
- Is this product going to be saleable?
The answers come from a combination of Bittenson’s experience and IP.com’s InnovationQ+ workflow solution.
Semantic Gist® engine: a one-two punch
Bittenson conducted about 100 patent searches in 2022, a significant number for an independent operator.
“With as large a practice as that, it’s important to be efficient and to have the best database I can get my hands on for the best workflow,” he said.
IP.com’s proprietary AI-powered Semantic Gist® engine uniquely blends natural language semantic search with classic Boolean query capabilities to target relevant results fast.
“Whether you call it Boolean-limited semantic searching or semantically-ordered Boolean searching, this seamless integration makes InnovationQ+ the powerhouse that it is,” Bittenson said.
Prior to adopting IP.com solutions, Bittenson tried about a half dozen other proprietary search engines claiming to have some sort of natural language or semantic search. However, “it was in name only,” he said. The functionality and results weren’t there.
He tested IP.com’s semantic search engine against several others. “There was just no comparison,” Bittenson said. “Most of them appeared to be very simple text searches with no real conceptual content in the results.”
“I could learn to talk with IP.com’s solution. It was like having a conversation with another human being who can work a lot faster than I can,” he described. “It’s a superior search engine that’s enabled me to do things I just couldn’t manage with prior search engines.”
It’s not enough, though, to simply have both semantic and Boolean search capabilities. They must work well together.
That integration is a powerful differentiator for IP.com, Bittenson said.
“The smooth integration between the Boolean and the semantic engine is important,” he said. “I feel confident I can do a good search in a relatively short amount of time using the combination that IP.com has. Overall, this is a very powerful toolset that simply isn’t available in other search engines I’ve used.”
Answers and insights, in minutes
Recently, a corporate attorney client reached out to Bittenson for help. He thought a particular concept was disclosed, but not claimed, somewhere in his portfolio of 500 patents. The client asked him to find this reference buried somewhere among the hundreds of documents.
“I took the entire patent number list from the portfolio, pasted it into InnovationQ+ and wrote a one or two sentence layperson’s description of what my client described he was looking for,” Bittenson explained.
“The reference he was looking for was the second reference in the semantically reordered set. The entire time it took me to process his question, in a portfolio of 500 patents, was 10 minutes,” he said. “That result is something I’ve not found possible with any other resource. The short amount of time it took me was just delightful.”
Bittenson shared another example of a private practice attorney seeking to invalidate a patent. He entered the claim into InnovationQ+.
“I was on the phone with him for 15 to 20 minutes. The first reference that popped up turned out to be exactly what he needed,” Bittenson said.
Improved efficiency, less stress
Greater efficiency is important for any organization focused on innovation, but for an independent consultant like Bittenson, it’s critical. Every minute of every hour counts.
He estimates using InnovationQ+ saves him one to two hours per search, or at least 100 hours a year, compared with Boolean-only searching.
– Saves 1-2 hours per search
That means lower stress.
“It unloads the front end of the search, of trying to get going. That’s the part where it’s most helpful—getting those initial results that let me figure out what direction to go in. That includes, for example, helping to identify patent classes and terms for Boolean limitations,” Bittenson said.
Previously, he used to worry a lot more whether he was approaching the problem correctly in the search—and whether he’d have to expend more energy to redo the work.
“InnovationQ+ gives me the rich material at the top rather than having to wade through a broad Boolean-limited search result. If you allow three minutes per patent and you have 200 of them, that’s a bunch of hours that I generally don’t need to spend anymore. The amount of work stress is lower,” he said.
Bittenson even noted the fun of it.
“Being able to use the semantic engine with very differently worded search strings—and playing with the English gets to be a lot of fun here—I can look at the overlap in results sets. Sometimes I get great correlations. Sometimes I’m led on new paths. Through those multiple approaches, I feel like I can be multiple people and make sure I’m approaching the problem the way the client wants,” he said.
IP.com’s goal is to help customers reduce costs, improve productivity and drive ROI. Bittenson said that’s true for him.
“If I’m doing 100 searches and I save one hour per search because IP.com reduces my stress and lets me focus better, then I’ve saved the equivalent of 100 hours of labor, which is more than the price of a subscription.”
‘Smooth and convenient’ interface for presentations
Bittenson conducts most of his meetings virtually as more work has shifted remotely.
Because IP.com has built in configuration tools that allow for customization, he said InnovationQ+ “has become my go-to interface for reviewing search reports with clients.”
During meetings, Bittenson shares InnovationQ+ from his desktop with information organized to each client’s unique needs.
“The IP.com interface enables me to have a presentation format configured for the client,” he said. “Usually, I have a list of patents on the lower right, the image above it, and the text on the left. The client can immediately see the information. We can compare things, we can look back and forth. We can enlarge and easily thumb through images.”
Bittenson noted he has shared feedback with the IP.com customer success team and has seen this capability evolve. “This is another positive checkmark for IP.com. I’ve found the service representatives to be very responsive.”
A trusted partner
“Whenever I need to do a search, this is my first resource. Because of the semantic engine and the smooth integration with Boolean, I have no need to go to anybody else,” Bittenson said, noting that he also uses public search sources such as the USPTO and WIPO for some of his work.
“It’s like having a partner who can understand the questions I’m asking.”
And when you’re an independent IP professional, a trusted partner is invaluable.