Giustino de Sanctis

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 our team’s drive to develop and offer creative licensing solutions for, and together with, the IP community. On this journey, I have been privileged to work alongside a group of exceptional professionals with whom I share a drive to address the ever-changing demands of the market and to 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 do, while knowing where you are heading and why. Experience has taught me to fully appreciate the value of people and diversity. In this day and age, success is very tightly tied to the ability to put together a diverse team with interdisciplinary skill sets.

Vectis is a well-known IP licensing and consulting boutique, while Aliante is a new initiative. Where does Aliante fit in the IP space and what is the vision?

Aliante is an open and voluntary IP platform that is designed 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 avenue to generate revenues from their intellectual property.

As part of the platform’s design process, we worked closely with a select group of top-tier financial institutions and technology companies to ensure a tailormade solution that truly balances the needs of licensees and licensors. Having benefitted from many different perspectives, Aliante has the potential to open a new frontier of how intellectual property can be mitigated and rewarded.

From a philosophical perspective, the idea behind Aliante is to leverage the successful business concepts and models from the sharing/platform economy and build new collaborative norms between licensees and licensors. We think that this is the best way to overcome the challenges presented by the growth of digitalisation and technology convergence in the finance space.

How would a financial institution benefit from Aliante?

Aliante is a multi-sided platform and financial institutions are free to join Aliante as a licensor and/or licensee. In their capacity as a licensee, in exchange for a subscription fee, a financial institution is granted portfolio-wide access to the patent portfolios of all the licensors in the platform in a field of use that covers the business activities of financial services.

This is a great way for financial institutions to acquire rights under large sets of patents and to proactively mitigate risk from patent assertion, with each financial institution remaining protected even if the patents are sold or transferred to a third party by a licensor.

It should be underscored that the platform provides protection in the form of an actual licence – rather than a simple springing licence – which, of course, means that the rights acquired from the platform protect against the current owner or any third party that should acquire those rights, regardless of whether that party is a competitor or a NPE.

Aliante primarily relies on positive network effects to scale, so naturally the subscription fee structure has been designed with multi-sided adoption in mind. The fee is competitive and affordable for any financial institution, while still significant enough in aggregate to provide a commercial incentive for leading technology companies to join the platform as licensors.

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 is 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 create value-based ecosystems in which each participant enhances the value for others will be the main winners in this new dawn of IP licensing. Aliante is poised to lead this transition to Licensing 2.0 in the finance 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 for my team and I to leverage our broad skill set and get involved at a much earlier point in the technology lifecycle. Right now, Code On is driving the adoption of a very disruptive forward-error correction (FEC) coding technology powered by Code On’s proprietary Random Linear Network Coding (RLNC).

In short, instead of using networks from point to point, RLNC – with some very clever mathematics – makes it possible to move 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 enterprise cloud, video and audio delivery, remote driving, satellites and space communications, gaming, security, 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, including Code On Technologies itself. We first met the inventors when we were asked to help structure a complex aggregation of the underlying intellectual property into Code On Technologies – 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 more than 10 leading universities, develop an ecosystem of partner companies to make the technology easily accessible and assist the ecosystem with its deployment.

At the heart of our 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 pioneered methods of 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 are 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 collaboration between the inventors of great technologies and all companies that can benefit from access to these technologies, things have never been more interesting. Seeing what can represent years of hard work behind the scenes come together to bridge the nexus of business, intellectual property and innovation to serve an entire ecosystem is deeply rewarding.

Giustino de Sanctis

[email protected]

Giustino de Sanctis is a seasoned IP leader and serial entrepreneur who has operated at the intersection of business, intellectual property and innovation for over 25 years. Inspired by pioneers of the sharing economy, Mr de Sanctis leads the transition to Licensing 2.0 in the finance space with his latest venture Aliante. He participates in public discussions on the future of intellectual property, frequently speaks at events and universities and has authored numerous published articles.

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