Today's Entrepreneur: Alex Chan

Mitos Suson · April 25, 2016 · Short URL:

No. 1 Mistake: Behind the cash and a phenomenal product lies one key ingredient: it is hustling

Today's Entrepreneur is Alex Chan, Founder of DataNovo. DataNovo is a big data, analytics startup that provides predictions of future outcomes and actionable recommendations to help companies, legal practitioners, and stakeholders assess the strength of a patent. For patent owners or accused infringers, our analytics platform helps facilitate your decision making in determining whether to settle upfront, challenge/defend patent validity at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office ("USPTO"), or launch a full blown infringement or declaratory action at the District Court.

Chan is a patent attorney with 12+ years of experience in patent prosecution and litigation. He had drafted 300+ patent applications and litigated 15+ patent lawsuits. He is also a former patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 

DataNovo self-categorizes in these areas: AnalyticsBig dataData analyticsEnterprise software, and Legal.

Here's a little about Chan:

I am a(n): Entrepreneur

Companies I've founded or co-founded: TradeGig

Achievements (products built, personal awards won):

Named in a national journal as one of the top 50 IP lawyers in the U.S. (embargo date: May 16, 2016).

Named as a "Rising Star" in 2016 by a national magazine (embargo date: July 8, 2016). Only the top 2.5% of lawyers in the U.S. receive this recognition.

If you are an entrepreneur, why?

My DNA is coded in the unknowns. I do not accept the rational “whats.” I want to discover the “whys,” analyze the “hows,” and choose the “whichs.” As an entrepreneur, I do not believe that everything is binary. The ultimate perk of being an entrepreneur is that I get to scrutinize every decision like a chess move, take every risk like a death wish, and celebrate every win like a defending champ.

My favorite startups: DataNovo

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

As innovators, we strive to live in the present but think in the future: to create products that are often fairy tales in children’s books. This “time gap” creates triggers and barriers that sometimes sprout questions, criticisms, and concerns in others, from investors and customers to the general public. This is frustrating but necessary to our ultimate path of success.

The rewarding part is that we are given a rare opportunity to dispel doubts and demonstrate market fit. After all, if we all think alike, then no one is thinking. Innovation is how we show that great men don't always think alike.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

Behind the cash and a phenomenal product lies one key ingredient: it is hustling. No matter what arsenals we have at our disposal, building a successful company always comes down to knocking on every door, getting in front of every customer, and grinding through every adversity.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1) Be grateful for your team and give credits to each of them often and frequent. 
2) If opportunities don't knock, build a door. 
3) Willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.

Full bio

I am an innovator grounded upon creative ideas and bold initiatives. Early this year, I founded and launched a big data analytics legal startup that focuses on predicting lawsuit success rates and finding creative ways to invalidate frivolous patents that are stifling innovations and shutting down hardworking businesses.  I also founded an e-commerce startup, funded by the Chilean government, that helps the unemployed find new ways to offer their skills and talents for profit or in exchange for credits towards other services. 

As part of my neverending commitment to help companies fight against abusive litigation, I have authored and published a number of legal articles via LA Daily Journal, Law360, and Bloomberg BNA on topics ranging from best defense practices for small businesses in frivolous litigation to political reform bills that impact every facet of patent litigation to the growing tensions between district and appellate courts.

A strong believer in creative thinking and inspiring ideas, my resolute goal is to bring my rigor, ideals, and excellence to patent litigation in ways rarely observed by my peers.  My commitment is to make global impact that is grounded on deeds, not words; on proofs, not promises; and actions, not proposals.

DataNovo is competing in the Splash Spring. The top eight of the competition will compete live on stage at Splash Spring on May 12 at Scottish Rite Center, Oakland. Register here.

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Mitos Suson

I produce Vator Events and enjoy the challenge. I am learning and growing a lot, being involved with Vator and loving every moment of it!

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DataNovo Inc.


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DataNovo finds prior arts to every patent instantly. Prior art is anything that shows an invention is old or obvious. Companies use prior arts to invalidate frivolous patents and show that those innovations already exist long before. Companies also use prior arts (or a lack thereof) to show why their products are not obvious variations but truly cutting-edge technologies. Prior art is what stands between just an idea and true invention. It’s the holy grail in intellectual property.

But finding prior art is a monumental task. It’s hard because you think it’s there but you don’t know where, if it exists at all. It’s expensive because it’s time- and labor-intensive to look through decades of products and literature to find them. It’s slow because prior art searches today are still done manually, by hands and by human, which take weeks, if not months, to complete. Manual searches often lead to poor quality of prior arts. This lack of quality has led to a historical number of trivial patents issued and litigated. 

Fundamentally, DataNovo aims to solve: 1) how to find the best and most relevant prior arts; and 2) how to find them quickly. 

DataNovo solves these two industry-wide problems by cutting search time down to milliseconds (from weeks/months) and at a fraction of the cost (e.g., at one tenth of the traditional cost). Enter just the patent number. Using machine learning and pattern recognition, DataNovo is able to identify the key invention in each patent. Leveraging on big data and artificial intelligence, DataNovo is able to use the key invention as part of its comprehensive prior art discovery process to identify the best, most relevant prior arts available against that key invention.

With these prior arts, companies are able to challenge frivolous patents, make informed choices on potential settlement terms, or design products around those patents to avoid willful infringement.

Another feature we offer is the innovation checker. You can check if your new product is truly cutting edge. Describe your product in as few as 6 words. That is all it takes for our machine learning system to understand the product that you have. We will then show you patents that might cover that product. 

With these results, you can then take steps to avoid patent infringement by designing around them. Never before do companies have this information without being sued or spending millions in patent litigation. The best part is that you don’t need to hire a patent lawyer or a professional prior art search firm to find these patents for you. The results are now available at your fingertips instantly, which saves time and cuts cost in ways never seen or done before.


Alex Chan

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I'm a patent attorney with 12+ years of experience in patent prosecution and litigation. I've drafted 300+ patent applications and litigated 15+ patent lawsuits. I am also a former patent examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.