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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Itracks patent is valid, says Patent Office

US— An online focus group patent held by data collection firm Itracks is valid, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office – undermining claims made by rival company Artafact.

Itracks says it has been issued with a Reexamination Certificate upholding the validity of patent number 6,256,663, which relates to a system and method for conducting online focus groups using remotely located participants.

Rival Artafact had sought a review of the patent earlier this year claiming it was invalid, after the company had been sued by Itracks for allegedly infringing the patent with its Online Focus Group software and Diary Bulletin Board products.

California-based Artafact could not be reached for comment today. In a statement, Itracks president and CEO Dan Weber (pictured) said: “We believe the Patent Office’s decision confirming all the originally issued claims of the ’663 patent should eliminate any doubt about the validity of our patent.”

Legal action between the two firms was put on hold awaiting the outcome of the Patent Office review. An Itracks spokesman told Research it was hoping for “an amicable settlement” of the dispute and that settlement terms had been offered to Artafact.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • It is patents like this that are truly ridiculous.

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  • Totally agree with Zotter on this. It completely undermines US credibility around the world, when their Patent Office accept such patents and then, against all sense, uphold them.

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  • winder if they want to patent email also???? so stupid - also what do the patent people know?? crazy --

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  • What were all those online chat applications doing way back in 1992 if iTracks can really claim a patent for online text communication between remotely located participants? What a crock. Maybe AOL will sue iTracks and we can finally get to the bottom of who "invented" online research interviews. Someone should really tell this lady - http://www.mariansalzman.com/

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