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We’re hardly out of the woods with COVID-19, and that means many properties will have to make do with a customer base mostly derived from local leisure, staycations and workcations from drive-to markets. With fewer overall guests, outside of cost savings efforts we must simultaneously look at maximizing the revenue per available guest (RevPAG), and there’s no better way to go about this than by sharpening your use of the PMS.

This is the last issue of Siegel Sez before this year’s CYBER HITEC event. HITEC is an event I have not missed in 30 years, and historically it has always been a great place to find innovation.

Toxicity Kills
Posted: 10/07/2020

It doesn’t matter if it is toxins in your physical environment or toxins in your mental environment. This stuff kills! 

It’s said that when someone’s mindset shifts, everything around them can change at the same time, and in our current setting, the importance of being in the right headspace, both personally and as an organization, can’t be discussed enough.

In my last installment, I introduced four areas of hospitality technology that I believe have been significantly changed by COVID-19. I covered contactless technologies in depth in that first article. This week I will turn to the other three areas: social distancing; health and sanitation; and communications.



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Have Internet? The Lawsuit the Entire Hotel Industry Is Watching

08/11/2015
by Trevor Warner

As an update to our first article on the lawsuit filed by Nomadix against Blueprint RF, a federal judge ruled allegations of deceiving federal patent examiners could go forward against Nomadix Inc. (an NTT Docomo Company).

The allegations are counterclaims by smaller rival and defendant Blueprint RF which Nomadix accused of patent infringement. Chief among the accusations is an alleged infringement on the concept of a captive portal page. The page is what a user sees when logging into a hotel, airport, coffee house or any other Wi-Fi system that requires log in.

The ruling in the U.S. District of Central California turns the tables on Nomadix, which sued Blueprint RF in October 2014. Nomadix accused the company of infringing on 10 patents, but since has withdrawn three of the patents acknowledging that Blueprint RF does not perform those claims.

Blueprint RF responded in counterclaims that the patents were invalid and unenforceable because of the alleged fraud perpetrated by Nomadix. If the court finds for Blueprint RF, the claims could apply to all seven patents remaining.

Blueprint RF’s accusations of inequitable conduct contain enough specific information to meet the legal standard to overcome Nomadix’s motion to dismiss the counterclaims, Judge Dean D. Pregerson ruled on June 29. Inequitable conduct is considered to be a form of non-criminal fraud.

Nomadix had sought to dismiss the counterclaims, saying the allegations were too general to meet any legal standard to go forward.

Blueprint RF’s allegations are supported by the identities of Nomadix representatives who might have engaged in the scheme, including names of attorneys who filed the Nomadix patents at issue. Further, the allegations include a clear description of how Nomadix representatives might have carried out the scheme, the judge ruled.

Blueprint RF’s counterclaims also include sufficient specific information indicating that the Nomadix lawyers knew they intended to deceive the patent officials, “given the totality of the circumstances,” Pregerson said.

The purported misconduct includes “burying” the patent examiners with sometimes thousands of documents, drawings and other information related to development of the patented technology. This practice can obscure key information, but allows the company to avoid the outright withholding information relevant to its patents.

Blueprint RF says the allegedly infringed patents are outdated and have been available to the public since 1998. Nomadix has been a very influential company in the early evolution of the guest internet network. In the early days of HSIA, business users where the focus and public IPs and VPNs were a pain point. This is not the case anymore. 

The suit is the latest of many filed by Nomadix, a dominant player in the hospitality technology industry. Nomadix has pursued giants in the industry in similar lawsuits. AT&T Corp.’s hospitality business subsidiaries, the Hewlett-Packard Company, and Wayport, Inc. are among companies that settled cases with Nomadix.

Our focus on this law suit is primarily the cost hotels pay in what we call royalty fees (known as license fees) that many HSIA providers charge properties because of past patents, law suits and so on. Millions of dollars that could be spent on innovation are spent on tribute. 

Other industry experts agree and suggest suing competitors so often stifles competition.

“I’d thought the litigation had run its course until this,” said Mark Holzberg, a hospitality technology executive and entrepreneur. Technological advances are more likely if the industry “Spent less time on litigation and more time developing their technology,” said Holzberg, a principal of HT Solutions LLC and formerly the chief executive officer of Lorica Solutions, head of Swisscom’s Hospitality’s North American & Global Managed Services, and the chief financial officer of TravelClick.

If Blueprint RF can win this case it would be a financial turning point for HSIA in the industry.  We will continue to keep an eye on this situation as it develops. 

About The Author
Trevor Warner

Warner Consulting Group


Trevor Warner is an industry expert and consulting for the hospitality technology field.

 
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