OROPO – Open Data initiative on patent ownership starts to take-off

Launched in June 2015 ORoPO claims to be a global database of patent owners verified by companies committed to openness and transparency.

We need more smart data in the field of technology markets. Therefore we appreciate initiatives like ORoPO very much. As soon as open data on patent ownership is available, we will try to integrate it into our IP Industry Base. Follow here our regular updates on ORoPO.


The patent law firm D Young & Co has added a blog post about ORoPO at there website. They argue that “to date the initiative appears to have attracted technology companies, whose patent portfolios are, arguably, mainly patents to protect technology essential to a standard (standard-essential patents or SEPs), and such accurate ownership data are probably already held in the official patent issuing authority register.”  Nevertheless they see that ORoPO “has at least provided an additional route towards improving transparency in patent ownership data accuracy in the public domain, which can only help the patent system to continue to promote and encourage innovation in business.”


Helios Intellectual Property has announced the first ORoPO related service . According to their press release they will provide “a new service package that will enable its clients to both submit to the Register, and audit their ownership status across over 180 worldwide patent offices.  The service will compare a company’s internal registration information against official patent office ownership data, and file the documentation required to make necessary corrections.  Helios Intellectual Property will also process the client’s submission to ORoPO.”

The smooth integration of the ORoPO registry into the IP management processes will be critical success factor for the registry. Any services aiming on facilitating this integration are very benefitial for the further acceotance of ORoPO. However,  ORoPO’s current delivery of the data as plain CSV files and the absence of an API is a critical drawback in that regard.


IAM Magazine has produced a video about ORoPO. Representatives of Microsoft and other early adopters explain why they have signed-up for the patent ownership registry. Interestingly, the representative of Philips explains its reluctance regarding the participation in such a transparency initiative.


THE FIRST DATA HAS BEEN PUBLISHED. Patent ownership data from ARM Holdings, BAE Systems, Conversant, IBM, Inventor Holdings, Microsoft, Practice Insight Pty, Shazam and Spherix is now online.

How the data is publised? Up to now, there is no API available. For each company two files are uploaded. The “metadata.cvs” declares some raw metadata about the declared patents (like data of declaration, related company etc.), and the “declared-patents.txt” is a list of all patents declared by the according company, in the form of “CN00808745 CN01810648 CN01810818 CN01812385  CN01819464 …” (here the first five patents of 3286 in total for ARM Holdings).

At the moment there is no information how often this information will be updated. So the users have to check for updates on a regular basis by themselves.


The World IP Review made a survey and polled their readers opinion regarding a global registry for patent ownership. 66% of the respondents said that they thought the database could prove useful, so World IP Review in their latest blog post. It’s not a bad number, their seems to be a critical number of market actors who do not believe in the benefit of a registry.

In the blog post they cite one the respondents: “A unified, one-stop register would improve novelty searches and be especially beneficial for locating prior art that was never filed in any of the major patent offices.” While the argument is very interesting, it is hard to believe that companies following such a camouflage tactic will disclose transparency data on a voluntary basis.


Colin Baker from ZDnet wrote a piece about ORoPO. He claims, that “voluntary and non-profit, ORoPO already offers online the details of patents owned by its founding members: ARM, BAE Systems, Conversant, Finjan, IBM, Microsoft, Patent Properties, and Shazam.” Unfortunately that is not the case. We are still waiting for the first data available through ORoPO.


Anthony Trippe, Manik Mehta and Riley Collins from wrote a piece about ORoPO as well. After an intensive review of the idea and third-party opinions they summarize: “Achieving openness and transparency for patent ownership is a problem worth fixing and ORoPO is a simple potential solution, designed with the patent owner in mind.” We do absoluetly agree on that conclusion.


IP Finance has published a blog post on ORoPO.

June 2015 

The website of the ORoPO foundation has been launched. According to the webiste ORoPO is committed to assembling the first global database of who owns which patents.

Why such a database is necessary?

The short answer is: there is no reliable data source for this information. Imagine there is no land register for real estates. Everything would be much more complicated in trading and managing real estates. For patents the situation is exactly like this – which is i.e. a very inconvenient situation for establishing a single IP market in Europe.

There is also a 18-page answer on this question from the ORoPO foundation. Read the report here.

Where is the data?

According to the website the downloads will coming soon. We will keep track on that! But the instructions for providing data are already available here. According to a press release Microsoft has already committed to publish patent ownership via ORoPO.

Will the data be open?

It seems so. According to there announcement all verified ownership data in the ORoPO database will be made generally available subject to the Creative Commons Attribution License, version 4 or later (CC-BY).

Who is behind ORoPO?

The adisory board is hand-picked list of well-known names: David Kappos, Robin Jacob, Tony Clayton and Heather Meeker. And even the list of dirctors is quite impressive: Roger Burt, Belinda Gascoyne, Phil David, Matt McBrien, Micky Minhas, Nigel Shadbolt and Nigel Swycher.

Featured image from Charlie Philips under CC-BY 2.0.