U.S. patent has Weever Apps thinking bigger
It’s 22 pages long, 11,200 words, more than three years in the making and, for Hamilton’s Weever Apps, a newly achieved United States patent is just the beginning of its plans for expansion.
The startup learned Christmas Eve that it has been granted a U.S. patent for its technology that converts web pages into mobile apps.
“This protects us for the next 17 years,” said Weever co-founder Steve McBride.
“It’s both offensive and defensive. No one can say we’re infringing on their technology and we can stop other people from using our technology.”
Alex Ross, a partner at Gowlings law firm in Hamilton who guided the process, says it’s become increasingly difficult to get U.S. patents for software.
“It has to be a genuine innovation or advance over what was done before.”
Weever has applied for a Canadian patent and Ross says achieving a U.S. patent can help expedite Canadian approval.
Landing the patent is so big for the startup that it has already attracted three new investors who will help fund expansion, said McBride. The company now employs 13 people and will hire two more developers in March.
Weever also has a new partnership with DocuSign, a California company that specializes in digital signatures.
“So we made an app for the CFL Players’ Association and players can sign documents and deals within the app using digital signatures.”
Weever technology has built about 22,000 apps in 65 countries, says McBride. The firm has also done work for the likes of London Life, World Vision and Pioneer.
Its focus, though, is its app builder, which allows users to create apps for phones or tablets without needing to code. Weever is paid a monthly subscription.
Ross began working with Weever after the company won the 2011 Lion’s Lair competition, which included a $20,000 package of legal services from Gowlings. He says the company’s success points to Hamilton’s ability to nurture innovation.
“Without this kind of dedicated support, Weever’s U.S. patent likely wouldn’t have happened. When most people think of a hotbed for Canadian startups, they think of Waterloo or perhaps Ottawa, but success stories like this show that Hamilton also has the potential to become a vibrant startup community in its own right.”
Technology investor Blake Laufer says he was “stalking” Weever several months but only handed over his money and joined an expanded board of directors when the company landed its patent, which lists co-founders Andrew Holden and Rob Porter as the inventors.
“I think the patent and new features they’re adding make it more valuable,” Laufer, a successful software entrepreneur himself, says of Weever.
Laufer is impressed by the management team and by the company’s approach to building solutions across a variety of software platforms.
“There is a lot of risk and R&D at the bleeding edge but they are at the leading edge. The things they are doing today will become commonplace for others in another few years.”
Article courtesy of Meredith MacLeod, The Hamilton Spectator