It Took How Long to Get that Software Patent?

At Hexagon PPM headquarters, Prasad Mantraratnam and Keith Harvey celebrate their patent awards with EVP Melanie Eakes, CFO/COO Scott Moore and President Mattias Stenberg.


Being granted a patent is not easy. Being granted a patent for software processes is really, really not easy.

For three software architects at Hexagon PPM, accomplishing that difficult task was celebrated Aug. 15 at company headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama, with dozens of their colleagues cheering them on. Those kudos go to:

• U.S. Patent No. 10,346, 556: “Validation of Multi-Component Design Constraints for Capital Project Design System” – Prasad Mantraratnam and Jealani Shaik
• U.S. Patent No. 10,324,607: “Message Ribbon User Interface for Presenting Realtime Information and allowing User-selected Redirection within a Computer Program” – Keith Harvey

PPM President Mattias Stenberg noted that Hexagon holds about 3,000 patents, and the vast majority of those are for hardware. PPM is now solely a software company, so patents are harder to come by. And the timeframe from idea to congratulations is lengthy. Both of the new patents were in the works for more than four years.

“Thank you for your big efforts,” Stenberg said. “And for your success.”

Executive Vice President Melanie Eakes – who heads up PPM’s Development, Global Support & Quality Assurance – encouraged the group of software engineers and architects to always be thinking about how the work they do on a daily basis could lead to additional patents, which yield financial and professional benefits to the awardees.

“You might think what you’re doing is a basic thing,” she said, “but the way you pull processes together matters.”

Eakes added that patents currently being pursued include an intern’s exceptional use of mathematics and a process dreamed up during a company hackathon.

Mantraratnam, a principal software architect who has worked at Hexagon for 22 years, said the patent he and Shaik (who is now working in the company’s office in India) created was implemented in 2014 to improve Hyundai Engineering’s use of Intergraph Smart 3D.

“I feel so motivated,” he said. “I can’t wait to do more. I’m really pushing myself and my team to find ways to articulate how our processes stand apart from others so that we can know this feeling again.”

Likewise, Harvey’s invention – which captures categorized messaging in a relevant way to be reviewed at will – had its beginning five years ago. This is his second patent, and a third has already been approved and is awaiting publishing.

Harvey works in UX across all of the solutions, industries and project life cycles that PPM is involved in. His latest patent has been part of the UX toolkit for years.

“I get personal satisfaction from boosting Hexagon’s intellectual property,” he said. “I’ve always been a problem solver. Sometimes it’s a problem that’s just on the horizon, and maybe no one else yet even recognizes what a problem it is going to be.”

  • Never Miss an Update