Giuseppe Taibi’s Techlog

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April 25th, 2007 · 16 Comments

EFF Patent Busting Project - NeomediaThe Kansas City infoZine reports:

NeoMedia Technologies, Inc., claims to own rights to all systems that provide information over computer networks using database-like lookup procedures that rely on scanned inputs, such as a barcode. NeoMedia has used these claims not only to threaten and sue innovators in the mobile information space, but also to intimidate projects focused on increasing awareness among consumers about the social and environmental impact of the products they buy.

Neomedia has not been shy in publicizing its patent-litigation business strategy. In a press release issued April 12, 2005, Neomedia has declared:

Gaining the recognition and protection of patent offices worldwide is very important for the welfare of our company and its shareholders. At present, NeoMedia has patent infringement law suits (covering previous company patents) pending against AirClic Inc., Scanbuy™ Inc., and Virgin® Entertainment Group, Inc., Virgin Megastore Online and Virgin Megastore, and has won a default judgement in its suit against LScan Technologies Inc.

On April 23, 2007, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed a petition for re-exam with the Trademark and Patent Office, backed by extensive evidence of prior art.

On the EFF page for the Neomedia patent-busting initiative, the following crimes against the public domain are listed:

  • Threatening small info-aggregating companies such as ScanBuy, AirClic, Inc., and LScan Technologies
  • Also, a potential threat to Barcr, an open source, alpha quality bar code scanner for Nokia’s 60 series cameraphones

I strongly agree with the EFF patent-busting initiative and wish EFF a swift victory.


July 18th, 2008
U.S. Patent Office Rejects All Ninety-Five NeoMedia Patent Claims

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16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Don Hahn // Apr 27, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    If NEOM or any company worked to develop technology, then, just like a pharm co. that develops a drug, they have legal rights to that tech.
    Don’t know what the big deal is all about. Just license it and develop your own applications.

  • 2 T Truedson // Apr 28, 2007 at 11:40 am

    NeoMedia has been investing in developing this technology for over 10 years. US and European patent laws protect innovators until such time they can realize a profit from their invention and grow their business. EFF and others can want to bust the patents all they want, the fact is no one has found prior art and NeoMedia is going to protect its legal rights. Time to move on EFF…

  • 3 yus // Apr 29, 2007 at 12:08 am

    The following is an excerpt from the EFF petition for reexam of NeoMedia’s Patent No. 6,199,048 (‘048 patent):

    [...] Moreover, the exact methods and systems of the ‘048 patent were also well-known in the art in 1995. For instance, during NeoMedia’s prosecution of the ‘048 patent’s counterpart before
    the European Patent Office (EPO), the EPO cited several pieces of prior art, none of which were considered by the USPTO during the prosecution of the ‘048 patent. These pieces of prior art demonstrated that linking indexes via pointers to information used to form a network connection was common practice for basic internet services, such as search engines, well before NeoMedia’s
    claimed invention date. The EPO further stated that the means of input for starting this matching process, such as scanning an item with a barcode, was non-inventive. These rejections go to the
    heart of the claimed material in the ‘048 patent. As a result of these rejections, NeoMedia had to substantially narrow its EPO claims beyond those in the ‘048 patent in order to obtain issuance.
    Yet, in light of newly discovered prior art by EFF, it appears that even the narrower EPO claims obtained by NeoMedia are invalid. Early during the European proceedings, the EPO relied on a reference disclosing the use of bar codes corresponding to Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) to render the entire subject matter of the ‘048 patent anticipated. NeoMedia was able to traverse this reference only by demonstrating that the reference post-dated the priority date of the application. However, the EFF has now found an earlier reference from 1994, United States Patent No. 5,640,193 (the ‘193 patent), that discloses the same correlation of bar codes with URLs.

    The full EFF petition containing detailed references to multiple pieces of prior art is available at

  • 4 streetstylz // Jul 8, 2007 at 3:36 am

    On July 6, 2007 vindication was rightfully awarded to NeoMedia, as the United States Patent and Trademark Office justifiably denied the EFF’s patent reexamination request, further strengthening and re-confirming the validity of NeoMedia Technologies’ patents.

  • 5 yus // Jul 8, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    I question the veridicity of the latest comment by streetstylz as a Google news search for “eff neomedia” does not yield any results. Streetstylz’s blog appears to be pro-Neomedia even though there is no explicit mention of such affiliation anywhere. Not a great way of promoting transparency at best.

  • 6 streetstylz // Jul 9, 2007 at 3:37 am

    Here you go yus :)

    Status: Reexam Terminated — Request Denied in Group

    You didn’t honestly think the EFF would come out and announce their huge monumental failure now did you ?!?


  • 7 streetstylz // Jul 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    The EFF failed for a 2nd time in their efforts to invalidate NeoMedia’s patents.

  • 8 yus // Aug 3, 2007 at 12:33 am

    On July 26 EFF has filed a Petition for Re-Exam. PDF available at

  • 9 streetstylz // Oct 28, 2007 at 8:08 pm


    The reexamination of NeoMedia’s patent doesn’t concern me at all, as it is merely a formality.

    As you know, NeoMedia has very coveted patents. These patents were first licensed by Digital Convergence in 2000 to facilitate the launch of the :CueCat. They were also the catalyst in the licensing of our patents to Cross Pen, Symbol, and NeoMedia’s acquisition of the qode assets in 2001.

    Years later, NeoMedia successfully won legal battles against Virgin
    Entertainment — who licensed our intellectual property portfolio — and successfully defeated AirClic and LScan. NeoMedia’s patents have proven their value and worth in true time tested fashion.

    One would certainly think that patent #6,199,048 has been under the microscope over the years, and has been looked over with a fine-toothed comb. Especially for prior art in the preceding patent infringement cases with Virgin, AirClic, and LScan.

    Too many Patent Experts and legal representatives have looked at the core patents (mainly the Huedtz patents) and have not figured out a way around them; Motorola, Symbol, Qualcomm, Digital Convergence’s legal team, Cross Pen, etc.


  • 10 yus // Jul 20, 2008 at 10:04 am

    On July 18th, 2008, the U.S. Patent Office has rejected all ninety-5ive NeoMedia patent claims.
    Perhaps NeoMedia will now learn the lesson and abandon for good its awful scare tactics against competitors based not on real and solid technological merits but on weak legal claims. In fact, after the PTO agreed to reexamine the patent, NeoMedia agreed to put on hold its pending litigation against Scanbuy, in which NeoMedia is alleging of infringement of the bar-code lookup patent, as well as another patent.

  • 11 streetstylz // Oct 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    NeoMedia’s Patent Review Moves to Next Phase


  • 12 streetstylz // Oct 4, 2008 at 12:32 am

    NeoMedia announced during it’s September conference call that they will continue to aggressively pursue litigation against Scanbuy.



  • 13 kk // Feb 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    USPTO a few days ago announced that all 95 claims of Neomedia are patentable!! A huge, HUGE! victory for Neomedia!

    EFF lost BIG time. So did Scanbuy.

    PAY UP!!

  • 14 yus // Feb 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Another NeoMedia-friendly semi-anonymous comment on this post that does not provide any backing to its claim. A Google News search for USPTO and Neomedia at the time of this writing yields a whooping ZERO result. Niet, nada, none, zero, zilch. Why can’t Neomedia just give up this barcode patenting litigation line of business and focus on their original and much cutest micro paint repair line of business ?
    @streetslyz, @kk: read my lips: g-i-v-e u-p!


  • 15 Rick // Mar 8, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Well.. The proof is in. And, thanks to EFF, the NeoMedia patents are now stronger than before. The defense at the PTO brought about a clarification that gives NeoMedia clear control of the patent. Now, lets see how long it takes the companies who openly are walking over the NeoMedia patents. Look out SCANBUY !! Your revenue – if any – wil be passed over to the real technology holder.

  • 16 WK // Mar 11, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Neomedia did in fact succeed in the reexamination initiated by EFF. Licensing its IP is one of the principal business objectives of Neomedia. The silly paint business – which was supposed to provide a revenue tream until the market was ready to adopt the tech covered by Neomedia’s patents – was sold off some time ago.

    The best info on the patent reexam results is not available – predictably – from the EFF. You need to look here:


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