Alumnus Winship Creates Juristat to Mine Patent Prosecution Data for Clients

As a patent attorney or inventor, wouldn’t it be great to have a crystal ball that would allow you to see how a particular patent examiner is likely to rule on your patent application? Drew Winship, JD ’09, thinks so—and he’s built one.

His St. Louis-based company, Juristat, collects public patent prosecution data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, parses the data using its proprietary algorithm, and predicts future behavior of patent examiners, judges, attorneys, and inventors. It’s similar to the way baseball statistics are used to predict a player’s future performance, but on a much larger scale.

“Our product shifts the balance of power from patent examiners to inventors,” Winship says. “It allows our clients to see whether they should file an appeal or keep fighting with an examiner following a rejection. We can even help them get in front of a new examiner.” 

So far the company has raised over half a million dollars in venture capital (Capital Innovators), angel investment, grants (Arch Grants), and prizes (St. Louis Startup Challenge). Juristat began generating revenue in late 2013.

The company’s first paying customer was a partner at Lewis, Rice & Fingersh LC. He was so impressed that he became an investor in the company. “When he got the report, he immediately saw the value it provides,” Winship says. Juristat has since closed sales with a number of top firms and Fortune 500 companies. 

Winship co-founded Juristat with Jordan Woerndle, who holds a bachelor of science degree from Washington University School of Engineering, and Robert Ward, following St. Louis’ first Startup Weekend. The three were strangers when they serendipitously ended up on the same team and decided to create an online database to analyze Missouri state court litigation. Within 12 hours, they had collected data on approximately 60,000 civil cases and built an analytics package that could predict the behavior of judges in the City of St. Louis. Their team won the competition and received free office space and pro-bono legal work.

Winship, Woerndle, and Ward have since left their jobs at Brown & James PC, Washington University School of Medicine, and Beck Automation, respectively. In fact, at the beginning of 2014, Juristat had six full-time employees, and the company is hiring additional developers and sales staff to keep up with demand. They expect to double in size over the next six months and are expanding their product lines to include civil litigation analytics to optimize settlement timing and outcomes, motion practice, and trial verdicts.

While Juristat has been a team effort, Winship is quick to credit the law school for the role it has played in the young company’s success. “Ultimately, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Washington University School of Law,” he says. “The education, skills, mentorship, and connections the law school has provided are priceless.”

While the law school is an important part of his past, Winship believes it will play an even more important role in the future. “The school’s faculty and alumni are positioning it to be at the forefront of the new technologies that are revolutionizing the practice of law,” he says. “If I were applying to law schools today, Washington University School of Law would still be my school of choice.”

  •  Juristat Receives $100,000 Arch Grant [more] 

By Timothy J. Fox