Inishtech: Protecting your Intellectual Property

For many startups and small enterprises it can be enough of an achievement to come up with an idea for a product, get it made and then ship it out the door. However, there is the thorny problem of getting paid. While many web applications can be sold directly to the user from the site or via a third-party such as iTunes there is still plenty of software whose preferred business model requires licensing the product out.

Licensing agreements tend to be manifold in nature. There are variations in how many people can use a given piece of software, how long they can use it for and also where and how it can be used. Also provision has to be made for both renewals of terms and the expansions of agreements.

Inishtech is an Irish company set up to allow software vendors to better manage the protection of their intellectual property.

Aidan Gallagher has spent over 30 years in the Information Technology industry. Aidan, along with two other founders of InishTech, Chief Technology Officer John O’Sullivan and Chief Operating Officer David Smyth, was approached by Enterprise Ireland to look at a technology that Microsoft had that they were considering licensing out.

The software in question allows companies to license their applications and their products so they can sell them more flexibly.

Aidan explains in more detail, ”If you developed an application for instance, you might want to sell it cheaply in a cut down version, or you want to sell the full version at a higher cost. We can do all that for the software developer through a service.

“They can basically put license points in their software and we can control how it’s used and accessed.

“Our clients are primarily dot net developers but we have some large scale enterprise customers as well. They develop software for corporate use and then distribute it around the world. They also want to license it and protect their work.”

“We now have the service up and running in Azure which is the Microsoft cloud platform and we work very closely with Microsoft who have stayed involved in the business as shareholders.

Inishtech now has 10 staff and over a hundred companies as clients.

“What we feel from our point of view is different about InishTech is that, in a very tough recessionary climate, it is increasingly difficult for a start-up to take an idea, commercialize it, get sufficient funds on board to do the development and the commercialization, invest in the sales and marketing, roll it out worldwide etc.

“Anything you can do to short circuit that process in these kind of pressured times is going to be an advantage.

“So, the idea of spinning out a technology that had effectively $30 million invested in it from Microsoft and having that as your starting point makes a lot of sense.

“What we’re really doing is taking something that is already up and running and the challenge now is to commercialize that and get it out in the marketplace.”

Aidan is looking forward to taking part in the 4th Annual Silicon Valley Technology Leaders Awards on April 5th, 2011. It is being held at Stanford University and is sponsored by the Irish Times.

“The ITLG for me is a fantastic forum for us to showcase ourselves as a company in Silicon Valley. It’s obviously a group of very high-powered entrepreneurs. They are very successful guys with a great network of people.

“It’s a way for us to showcase the company, accelerate access to market, access to individuals, access to potential VCs (venture capital) and investment and just accelerate our entry and growth in the US marketplace.”

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