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An Australian startup just used deep learning to win a massive European deal

Photo: NA Films/ Film4/ Universal Pictures.

A Queensland startup has celebrated a new deal with a major European customer after it perfected new deep learning technology that recognises images beyond simple shape and texture matching.

TrademarkVision’s deal with the European Union Intellectual Property Office this month comes after a successful beta test that saw around 1,000 trademark image searches conducted each day.

The EUIPO becomes the first governmental agency to take up the technology, although the terms of the contract were not disclosed.

In the past year, the company has been working on deep learning technology to take its software to the next level of intelligence, and the move has borne fruit in a spectacular way with the EU deal.

“We’ve focused on machine learning techniques so the system can recognise objects in trademarks and logos much like humans do. Despite the wide variety of ways humans pictorially depict objects in logos, deep learning has helped to solve this semantic challenge in a quick and robust way,” said TrademarkVision founder and chief executive Sandra Mau.

TrademarkVision was an early beneficiary of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s creative-tech startup fund and is still based out of the CEA incubator. Scale Angels and Sydney Seed Fund were also strategic investors, although the level of funding from the three organisations were not disclosed.

“Results like this is why we worked so hard to establish the CEA startup fund — so we can provide support for entrepreneurs in the creative space who are building products of huge impact,” said CEA chief executive Anna Rooke.

“TrademarkVision has developed a creative-tech solution that will implement high-level change as to how brands worldwide will manage their IP in the future. Despite being the first to adopt the ‘deep learning’ algorithm, EUIPO isn’t the only government entity using TrademarkVision.”

Mau said that she was grateful for the support from CEA in backing her vision to protect the rights of innovators and entrepreneurs. The process of ensuring IP protection is one that can take hours, days or weeks – but Mau says her product cuts that time down to seconds.

“When you come across a logo, it’s easy to compare it with your own, but when you want to compare it to millions, suddenly the task becomes very daunting,” she said.

“Our technology has the potential to not only improve brand owner’s lives, but completely change the game of brand protection.”

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