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‘Satisfy all your IP needs with one tool set’: How a top innovator excels with solutions

“It’s almost like a magic trick.”

That’s how Joe Manico describes using workflow solutions.

“To be able to articulate an idea and then instantly see what the patent terrain looks like—whether it’s patentable, whether there’s a problem or an opportunity—to know that immediately is so powerful,” he said.

Manico has worked in the IP field his entire career, and has been involved in every stage of innovation—from ideation through enforcement and monetization. He has contributed to 242 issued U.S. patents.

Today, Manico is a research scientist for a midsize global technology company with a large and highly-cited patent portfolio. Previously, he worked at Eastman Kodak, where he was a charter member of the company’s Systems Concept Center—its innovation skunkworks. He was instrumental to supporting the prosecution of all pending patent cases during Kodak’s bankruptcy proceedings in 2012 and 2013, and a major contributor to the sold Kodak patent portfolio.

If anyone knows innovation—it’s Joe Manico.

The Power of Semantic AI

Manico has been using solutions for 13 years, making him one of the company’s earliest customers.

The main reason is’s proprietary Semantic AI engine. It uses a combination of natural language semantic search and classic Boolean query capabilities to quickly and accurately unearth relevant content buried deep within complex patent and technical documents.

Why is that so important? Boolean searches alone are limiting in their results, Manico explained. They are also time-consuming.

“How easy is it to use if I have to learn French to talk to it? That’s how I look at Boolean searching. You lose people with a Boolean string. It breaks the natural flow of conversation. If you’re doing Boolean searches, you could get lucky. But you’d be spending 10x the time just to start your job and then to figure out what you’re looking at.”

Semantic AI gives him an edge, Manico said.

“I start at such an advantage because I know I can use plain English and I’m going to get relevant results immediately to look at and learn from. I don’t have to spend days just trying to find relevant material. I literally type in our invention descriptions or paste in content from white papers. I’m astonished by the results that come back,” he said.

Those results help Manico and his company make key business decisions around R&D investments—determining which ideas they will pursue, and which can ultimately be monetized.

Communicating with the C-Suite

Communicating decision-driving results to management can be a challenge for IP professionals, Manico said.

“If you’re dealing one-on-one with a lawyer who asks a specific question, that’s not a problem. But if you’re trying to explain a portfolio analysis to management—where we are versus competitors—you need a lot of good visuals. has really good visuals and reporting,” he said.

One visual he uses regularly is Relevance by Assignee. Simply type in a technology of interest and it will return a bar graph of relevant to highly relevant patents. It shows competitors and their relative positions as well as your company’s similar patents, making it easy to see the competitive landscape.

Relevance by Assignee Computer Screen

Manico said, “Managers don’t have time to pour over data. They want actionable intelligence. I can show them a graph or a synopsis and they understand what I’m trying to communicate. This saves me time and money, everyone is informed, and better decisions are made.”

Manico meets with his company’s senior management twice a month. He uses workflow solutions to show the status and strength of their portfolio relative to the competition, along with opportunities for licensing and partnerships.

Moving innovations forward, faster’s Semantic AI engine accelerates every step of Manico’s innovation processes. When working with inventors, Manico can easily get answers to two critical questions in real-time.

  1. Is this a new idea?
  2. Is this idea patentable?

“I type the idea into the engine and instantly I get a list of closely-related patents. I’m doing a patentability study in real time with the inventor, in 15 minutes. Now, our inventors are using the tool themselves. It demystifies the process for my colleagues.” solutions help innovators generate and refine ideas with the greatest potential at the source of the process—before time and resources are spent.

“We’ll know when we start if the competitive landscape is wide open or rife with competition. We’ll know the problematic areas, where we need to change course. We’re getting all of this intelligence so early in the process that the chances of being surprised later after the big investments are made is lower. When you’re making an R&D investment, you want to keep risk under control early,” he said.

“If you’re storing money in a bank, you want to make sure it’s locked,” he added. “If you’re making research investments, you want to make sure you can monetize those in the future, so you want to understand the intellectual property landscape while you’re making the investment.”

Patent Enforcement is the toolset of choice when Manico’s company needs to enforce the patents it has secured. He described a time when he stopped an infringement lawsuit in its tracks.

“The other party provided us with prior art they said invalidated our patent. But they stripped off all identifying information about what it was and who owned it. It was graphs, illustrations and one paragraph. I dropped that paragraph into’s solution and instantly identified the information and concluded it was unrelated to what we were doing. I got all this in a minute,” he explained.

“I determined: this is from company X and involves technology Z and does not in any way tie to what we’re doing. That was the end of that litigation. There was no second conversation,” he added.

Without, Manico said, that work would have taken lots of time and money. Instead, it took minutes to get their attorney the reference and analysis to enforce their company’s patent.

In cases where patent trolls have come after them, Manico said he simply gets the patent number from his attorney, checks the prior art, and proves the case null in moments. He’s also used to do technical analyses to help their litigation teams prove how two systems are different.

Twice the Grant Rate

Using workflow solutions, Manico’s company has achieved twice the issuance rate compared to the national average—and, a very high citation rate.

He points out this is empirical, objective evidence for management to evaluate the effectiveness of an IP strategy: Do your filed patents issue? Are they highly cited?

When Manico completes an invention disclosure or patent application, complete with claims and other information, he’ll re-run it through as a final check.

“If it clears that, I don’t worry about the patent examiner. Because I know the examiner’s search won’t be more thorough than the one we’ve done in-house. I’m confident we’ve done our due diligence. Using these tools early in the process, throughout the process, right up until the point of filing, it de-risks the whole process.”

The Difference

Before migrating completely to, Manico used a combination of multiple tools—one paid and two free.

Of the paid solution, he said, “There were nice bells and whistles. But if I’m not looking at the right stuff, what good is it.” He described the results as “awful.”

Using an open system like Google Patents made him uncomfortable, he said. It can feel like you’re putting your ideas at risk.

As expanded its applications over the years, Manico saw little use for other tools.

“It’s a truly amazing suite of tools and I’ve tried so many other things,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. You’re into the higher-level work instantly as opposed to spending your day trying to figure out how to approach it. You’re deep into it as soon as you get started.”

The full migration to was “trivial,” he said. He described it as a “drop and go” transfer of information. “It took one day, if that.”

And he gets personal support from the customer service team if he ever has a question. “I’ll get an answer within a day on average.”

One-stop Shop

From ideation and evaluation workflow solution IQ Ideas Plus, to innovation and IP decision support workflow solution InnovationQ Plus, to Defensive Publishing workflow solutions, offers a full suite to support companies throughout the innovation lifecycle.

Manico described it as “one stop shopping.” has given him and his company:

  1. Greater Efficiency
  2. Better Results
  3. Reduced Risk

“I’ve been intimately involved in all stages throughout the lifecycle of an idea—from concepts to patents to products to patent enforcement. I’ve built a career off solutions,” Manico said. “They’ve been integral to my success.”

“All of your intellectual property needs can be satisfied with one tool set,” he added.

Asked what he would tell potential customers considering workflow solutions, Manico said, “Why wouldn’t you want the one with Semantic AI helping you?”