NEWS11 May 2010

Itracks and Artafact head back to court over online focus group patent

Legal North America

US— Itracks and Artafact are heading back to court in their dispute over an online focus group patent after failing to agree settlement terms.

Itracks, based in Saskatchewan, Canada, says it will file a motion to proceed with its lawsuit against Californian firm Artafact, which it accuses of infringing its patent for a system and method of conducting online focus groups using remotely located participants.

Litigation between the rivals had been stayed while the patent in question – patent number 6,256,663 – was re-examined by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) at the request of Artafact, who argued that the patent was invalid. However, the PTO issued Itracks with a Reexamination Certificate in November, upholding the validity of the patent.

In the wake of the decision an Itracks spokesman told Research it was hoping for “an amicable settlement” of the dispute and that settlement terms had been offered to Artafact. Speaking today, the same spokesman confirmed that an out-of-court deal had not been reached and that litigation would resume shortly.



14 years ago

Hope they both have big wallets and lots of time. Only the lawyers will benefit from this one, not the industry! I was amazed they upheld this patent and even more surprised Itracks insists on fighting a patent which is being ignored by new dozens of new providers in the market. Not to mention organizations outside of the US.

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14 years ago

In for a penny, in for a pound I guess - this fight goes back a long way between these two companies, and nobody is wanting to pull out. I agree with the above comment too - all providers outside of the U.S. are effectively untouchable, as software patents don't apply in the Euro zone. The other big players, Visionslive, nQual, Insideheads etc seem to be moving ahead with further innovation while itracks is wasting more money on litigation when they should be improving on their aging product. I'm glad that the rest of the industry is pressing forwards with innovation despite this little fight. In the end the fighting is detrimental to both parties, although to be fair they both get a certain amount of PR out of it. Robert

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