Canadian intellectual property management vendor wants more partners

Seeing a growing need for reducing the business risks and the commercialization costs around the software applications that are routinely developed by many businesses, Protecode is ramping-up its partner program.

A three-year-old software company based in Ottawa, Protecode develops products and solutions to manage software intellectual property (IP). Protecode CEO Mahshad Koohgoli said the vendor’s offerings are designed to give enterprises confidence in the legality of their code.

“We have solutions that allow an organization top capture IP policy for the organization, capture licensing attributes that are compatible with the organization’s business model, and we can then automatically analyze thousands of software files in the organization’s code portfolio,” said Koohgoli. “We can automatically detect open source and other third-party code, either in full or in partial use, and automatically determine anything which requires licensing or copyright ownership and use restrictions.”

At the core of Protecode’s application suite is a code signature library the vendor has amassed of millions of publically available and commercial software applications. Much like old-school anti-virus software, the engine compares a customer’s developed code against the signature database so that, before a client ships a product, they can be satisfied there’s no license obligations they’re unaware of.

Koohgoli said Protecode has built a number of products around the code library and engine. Enterprise IP Analyzer is a bulk analysis engine that analyzes all the files in a particular directory on a set schedule. Another offering is Developer IP assistant, a real-time solution that sits on a developer’s workstation and, as the developer brings a library file snippet into their project, analyzes it and provides feedback for the developer.

The software sits client-side in the customer’s data centre, and for security reasons no customer code is transmitted outside the organization, said Koohgoli. Rather, the software breaks the code down into a number of fingerprint signatures that are then compared against the regularly-updated Protecode database.

“We put a lot of investment into making these products easily adoptable and usable, with the idea a significant portion of our business would be coming from third-party distributors and resellers,” said Koohgoli.

Protecode has an annual licensing model, based on the complexity of the organization and the amount of data a client wants to analyze per year. Blocks can start from $5,000 all the way up to $50,000/year.

Partners earn margin on both the initial sale and annual renewal and, while he declined to publicly disclose margins, Koohgoli said they are “very good” and “twice to three-times the normal market rate.”

He added there’s also the opportunity for partners to provide services and support on top of the license sale, and 100 per cent of that revenue stays with the partner.

While Protecode does have some tier one customers its handling direct, Koohgoli said its business model is squarely-focused on partners and resellers. He sees two types of partners: pure resellers, and value-added partners that wish to offer IP audit services. The vendor offers training, equipment and support.

“We’re just short of 12 partners worldwide, and in Canada we’re looking for partners in various regions, especially in Toronto, on the West Coast and in Calgary,” said Koohgoli. “We’re looking specifically at the embedded software market, the financial services segment, and we’re beginning to look at the health services market.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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