So NPR has a new program which I caught last evening on the drive home called All Tech Considered. It was a nice, short 5-minute program that was a delight to catch right before my normal financial day wrap-up program Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal.
Anyway, what was cool about All Tech Considered was the discussion about killer smartphone apps and they talked about two in particular. The first one, ShopSavvy by the software developer Big in Japan, is already turning into a media hit wonder. Everyone is talking or blogging about it. The app basically uses the Google Phone’s camera to scan bar codes and then generate an array of prices enabling the user to comparison shop. Pretty awesome! And a great tool to have during these economic crunch times.
The next killer app was for the Apple iPhone and is called Shazam. What it does is enables your iPhone to become a musical genius. In other words, when you hear a song on the radio or in a store like the Gap and you like it but don’t know who is singing or what the name of the song is you fire up Shazam and bang, it identifies the song for you.
In an effort to educate the public and raise the question of patentability, NeoMedia has multiple patents that cover scanning UPC codes with a camera enabled mobile device to connect to the Internet, comparison shop, and/or retrieve online content.
So are the folks behind ShopSavy in violation of these patents? Why point this about NeoMedia? Is this a patent that you think is defendable?
I am not a lawyer. Just raising the question of patentability for the sake of discussion.
NeoMedia’s rich patent portfolio was developed by former Symbol VP of 2D Systems, Rob Durst, and former Symbol Principle Engineer Kevin Hunter. Kevin is the holder or co-holder of over 45 US and International patents, and Rob is the named inventor on 28 US patents including their international counterparts with additional US and foreign patents pending.
NeoMedia’s patents were first licensed by Digital Convergence for $100M in 2000 to facilitate the launch of the :CueCat.
In 2001, NeoMedia Technologies formed a strategic alliance with Symbol, now owned by Motorola, and signed a worldwide licensing agreement under NeoMedia’s intellectual property. Symbol would later offer to buy NeoMedia’s valuable patent portfolio in 2002 for $150M. The offer was declined however in favor of further developing the IP and growing the patent portfolio as a core component of NeoMedia’s long-term growth and market strategy.
In 2005, Virgin Entertainment and NeoMedia Technologies entered into an extended licensing agreement, which saw Virgin license NeoMedia’s patents through 2016.
NeoMedia brought suit against Scanbuy for patent infringement. Litigation has been ongoing.
[…] nice mention of ShopSavvy on Architosh last night. Thanks Anthony! Big in Japan | November 13th, 2008, 9:40 am | Tags: Social Media | […]
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