Tribeka Ltd. is revolutionizing the way people buy and sell digital content. The company has created the SoftWide® technology which allows customers to walk into a store, choose from a wide range of software or digital entertainment products, and instantly walk away with a secure copy, identical to the traditionally distributed version.
Tribeka's SoftWide system is revolutionary because it is “virtual”: it operates by taking advantage of Tribeka’s licensing agreements with digital content publishers to manufacture their products to factory standards on-demand and on-site. This allows SoftWide to eliminate stock and its associated problems (inventory, out-of-stock situations, unsold or obsolete products) and take full advantage of display space, whilst minimizing physical distribution costs and the potential for technical piracy or physical theft. By exploiting these advantages to the full, the system allows retailers, publishers and customers to reap the financial benefits.
Softwide patent drawing as submitted in PCT application PCT/GB2002/002983 (PATENTSCOPE® search)
The SoftWide platform manufactures physical packages of digital content “on demand” and/or “just in time”: as soon as a customer makes a purchase in a retail outlet using the SoftWide platform, the system automatically and instantaneously obtains authorization from Tribeka’s remote control center via secured license release and starts in-site replication of the product. The software or digital entertainment content is pressed onto disc and the final package can even be personalized for gifts. The entire process, including the printing of a user manual and color inlay, all to factory quality, is completed within minutes.
At present, the platform is capable of delivering PC, Macintosh, mobile/smart phone, DVD and audio book products. Similar technology for console games is being developed.
To protect their ingenuous manufacturing, distribution and retailing technology, the company has taken out several regional and international patent applications covering secure production, audited manufacture, shrinkage protection, ordering facility and distribution of digitized information on demand and at point of sale.
Tribeka notes that “the costs of patenting our innovations were not too large, especially given the collateral benefits we realized because of our patents (investor and partner confidence, increased staff, and eventual licensing revenue). In our case, the total patent costs have been about 2.5% of research and development (R&D) costs to date“.
In addition to its patents, the company also holds three registered trademarks in the United Kingdom.
Tribeka is growing fast and has secured licensing agreements for worldwide distribution with more than 250 leading software and digital content publishers including ABBYY, Activision, Atari, AVG, Corel, CyberLink, Eidos, McAfee, Microsoft, Oxford University Press, Roxio, Symantec, Take 2 Interactive and Xara. Their SoftWide technology is used in Europe, Australia and the United States and is in the process of being deployed in South Africa and several Asian countries. Retailers who have adopted the platform include Carrefour and Tesco.
SoftWide has received numerous awards including several Wall Street Journal Europe Innovation Awards, three Deloitte European Retail Solutions Awards and was designated “Innovator of the Month” by the Association of Competitive Technologies (ACT). Tribeka founder and CEO Daniel Doll-Steinberg has gained widespread recognition as an entrepreneur, advises the British Government and European Commission on innovation and small/medium-sized enterprises (SME) policy, and is a regular speaker on innovation and the values of intellectual property (IP) and its protection.
Timely IP protection proved to be the key to successfully bringing the SoftWide platform to market: “Protecting our IP early in the process gave our investors a higher level of confidence in our ability to monetize on SoftWide, and helped us to draw in high-level partners to offer products for PCs, Pocket PCs, and phones. Their investment enabled us to hire the staff necessary to finish developing our technology and bring this innovation to market. By protecting our IP, we gave investors the confidence they needed in our technology and our company”, sums up Tribeka.
Their IP is now proving invaluable to Tribeka as it licenses SoftWide to retailers worldwide: it will ensure that they both profit from this revolutionary technology.
Date of publication: July 28, 2009