by Maureen O’Gara – SYS-CON
RPost, the Los Angeles inventor of Registered Email services, has gotten a patent on the little invisible web bugs – also called web beacons or pixel tags – that companies – in this case service companies – use to see if their e-mails are opened to measure the success of their marketing campaigns.
The widgetry is thought to be use in more than 40 billions of e-mails a year and has gotten particularly popular in Big Data analysis.
RPost means to license US Patent 8,161,104 to tens of thousands of e-mail marketers, social media companies and cloud-based businesses, and pursue any infringers. Licensing terms are unknown.
The company is no stranger to the law courts. It is currently defending its proof-of-delivery patent in infringements suits brought against Swiss Post, Canada Post, ZixCorp, Docusign, Adobe Echosign, RightSignature and Farmers Insurance in federal courts in California, Texas and Virginia. The cases are set to go to jury trial in the Eastern District of Texas in August of 2013.
It reckons the tracking methods covered by its new ‘104 patent are being used by nearly every e-mail marketing service, task management platform and social network service as the basis of their analytical offerings.
RPost will probably target big third-party e-mail senders such as ExactTarget, Responsys, Yesmail and Experian’s Cheetah Mail. It will also doubtless look at billing schemes like Pitney Bowes’ promised Volly system, doxo and manilla.com. Transactional e-mail obviously have a high open-rate and are a cross-sell or up-sell opportunity.
“The link tracking patent is based upon technology specifications RPost submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office in 1999,” RPost CEO Zafar Khan said in a statement. “To date, RPost holds the most complete set of patents around e-mail tracking and proof. We intended to vigorously assert our intellectual property rights to this new patent; and the 35 other patents we have obtained.” RPost has been using this technology within its Registered Email services since the early 2000s.
According to Wikipedia researchers estimate that US firms alone spent US $1.51 billion on e-mail marketing in 2011 and will grow to $2.468 billion by 2016.
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