What led you to establish Vectis, and more recently Aliante, and what advice would you offer to anyone considering setting up their own firm?
Vectis and Aliante are the results of my drive to develop and offer creative licensing solutions for the IP community. On this journey, I have been privileged to work alongside a group of like-minded professionals with whom I share a vision on how to address the ever-changing demands of the market and leverage the lessons learnt from operating at the intersection of business, intellectual property and innovation for over 25 years.
When it comes to entrepreneurship, the key is passion and vision – you need to love what you are doing while knowing where you are heading and why. Some of the most valuable lessons that I have learnt are to never forget that starting any new business requires great people and to make it a priority from the get-go to build a diverse team with interdisciplinary skill sets to benefit from different perspectives.
Vectis has been operating since 2015 in patent licensing, tech transfer and IP consulting, and is well-known by players in the industry, while Aliante is a new initiative. Could you tell us more about Aliante?
Aliante was founded to provide a solution for financial institutions to mitigate IP risks connected to the technological escalation that they are experiencing, while offering traditional technology companies a sustainable way to see their innovation rewarded.
In short, Aliante is an IP platform that has opened a new frontier of how intellectual property can be managed, mitigated and rewarded.
From a philosophical perspective, we have leveraged the successful business concepts and models from the sharing economy and built new collaborative norms to overcome the challenges presented by the growth of digitalisation and technology convergence in the finance industry.
Moreover, Aliante is a voluntary and value-based solution for efficient IP clearance, and represents a compatible and frictionless licensing opportunity for rights holders.
How would a financial institution benefit from Aliante?
In exchange for a subscription fee, financial institutions can access the entire patent portfolios of all platform contributors for use in their internal IT hardware and software systems, excluding SEPs and cellular technologies.
This is a great way to acquire rights under large sets of patents and to proactively mitigate risk from patent assertion entities since each financial institution remains protected even if a platform contributor sells or transfers patents to a third party.
One of the great advantages of this platform is that it strikes a balance between comprehensive access to intellectual property and monetary reward on innovation while ensuring that the subscription fee is as competitive as commercially possible.
What is your perspective on the future of licensing?
Licensing as we know it, and as we have known it for the past few decades, is changing. The reason for this resides in the shift in value from hardware to services, which has cut across many industries over the past 20 years.
Licensing 2.0 is about building effective and cost-effective platforms with an ecosystem approach and moving away from expensive and abrasive bilateral dealmaking. I believe that in this new environment, the platforms that incentivise multi-sided adoption, increase value to all participants by attracting new participants and are scalable with a focus on longevity will be the biggest winners in this new dawn of IP licensing. Aliante is poised to lead this transition to Licensing 2.0 in the IT space.
You are also busy commercialising more nascent disruptive technologies with roots in university-based R&D. Tell us a little about Code On Technologies.
Code On Technologies was a great opportunity to get involved at a much earlier point in the technology lifecycle and drive adoption of a very disruptive forward error correction (FEC) coding technology called Random Linear Network Coding (RLNC). Instead of using networks from point to point, RLNC – with some very clever mathematics – makes it possible to store and transport data more efficiently, faster and with lower latency by coding packets of data together throughout the entire network, not just at the source and destination. RLNC optimises a variety of applications, for example, in satellites and space communications, gaming and video delivery, enterprise SD-WAN, security and crypto and 5G, among many others.
The technology was invented across several top universities in the United States and Europe and continues to be developed across these and other research institutes. We first met the inventors when we were asked to help structure a complex aggregation of the underlying intellectual property into Code On – a US-based university spin-out. After recognising the wide array of market applications and improvements, it became the start of an interesting journey to bring the technology into more real-world deployments.
There has been an ecosystem element to the Code On story as well, has there not? Could you expand on this side of the venture?
The collaborative theme continues here, the focus being to aggregate technology and intellectual property from multiple leading universities (more than 10), develop an ecosystem of partner companies to make the technology easily accessible and assist the ecosystem with its deployment.
At the heart of this ecosystem is Steinwurf – a software company leader in FEC codes, based in Denmark and founded by the same leading inventors of the underlying technology. With their extensive knowledge of FEC codes, Steinwurf has been the pioneer in making highly developed and easy-to-use software libraries that allow anyone to integrate RLNC in their products and services via a simple software licence. At the same time, other ecosystem companies have then used the software created at Steinwurf to jump-start the technology integration in their own specific verticals.
You said that you need to always have passion and vision when starting something. What passion and vision is driving you across all these ventures?
In this technology-driven world evolving around us, a key thread connecting my involvement has been the curiosity to learn about new ideas and the irresistible attraction to exploring innovative solutions. Taking stock of my role in shepherding the collaboration between the inventors of great technologies that have entered my horizon and all the companies that can benefit from access to these technologies, things have never been more interesting. Seeing what sometimes represents years of hard work behind the scenes come together to bridge the nexus of business, intellectual property and innovation to serve an entire ecosystem of industry is deeply rewarding.
Giustino de Sanctis
Chief Executive Officer
Giustino de Sanctis is a seasoned IP leader and a serial entrepreneur who has operated at the intersection of business, intellectual property and innovation for more than 25 years. Inspired by the pioneers of the sharing economy, Mr de Sanctis leads the transition to Licensing 2.0 in the IT space with his latest venture Aliante. He enjoys participating in public discussions on the future of intellectual property, is a frequent speaker at events and universities, and is the author of numerous published articles.