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Think about the moment when you first enter your hotel room. Look around: Does the room tell you anything unique about the hotel where you are staying? Or is it all beige walls and double beds with white covers, and you have to walk back outside and look at the sign on the hotel’s facade to even remember where you are?

Hotel guests commonly bring multiple devices with them during their stay. However, many hotel environments don’t provide easy access to charging outlets. This situation can lead to a guest feeling more than inconvenienced. A recent survey found almost 90 percent of people "felt panic" when their phone battery dropped to 20 percent or below.

Spam is one of the major problems that most hotel website owners face on regular basis. It is a bad practice used by spammers to persuade the page rank of a site.

GBTA recently partnered with AccorHotels to conduct a study investigating the role of loyalty in managed travel programs in Europe with the goal of understanding how loyalty programs currently fit within company travel policy and what opportunities may exist in the future.

People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 



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The Patent Lawsuit the Hotel Industry is Watching – Round Two Goes to Nomadix, but the Case is Far from Over

02/19/2016

The early-stage evaluations are flying back and forth in the patent lawsuit between Nomadix and Blueprint RF. A second round of motions has been decided in Nomadix’s favor, but unlike the initial industry reaction the final outcome appears far from being determined. 

The lawsuit, filed in the Central District Court of California on October 24, 2014, alleges Blueprint's Dominion gateway infringes on seven patents held by Nomadix. Five of the patents address browser redirection to a login page, and two address automatic folio billing for Internet connection charges. According to a release issued by Nomadix: This Nomadix patent (U.S. Patent No. 8,156,246) protects key technology for redirecting user computers to captive portal pages.

In an order for partial summary judgement, almost a year before a trial is scheduled, Judge Dean D. Pregerson, U.S. District Court judge for the Central District of California, ruled for Nomadix on infringement of two claims of one of the patents. According to documents we received from Nomadix, this decision limits its focus going forward to counting its damages and arguing for an enhanced award for “willful infringement.” This may involve issuing subpoenas to Blueprint RF’s customers and other forms of legal discovery.

"We are pleased with the court's ruling," explained Fred Reeder, chief commercial and operating officer of Nomadix. "This ruling vindicates our belief that our patents are valid.”

“Not so fast,” said Ron Peterson, CEO of Blueprint RF. Peterson states that his company holds incontrovertible evidence that Nomadix did not invent “redirection to a login page” or “automatic folio billing of Internet connect charges.” Blueprint cites numerous sources demonstrating that several early HSIA providers put these techniques into commercial operation well before Nomadix claims to have invented them. 

Now that the judge has interpreted at least some of the Nomadix patent claims to cover the Dominion gateway, the focus of the lawsuit turns to the key issue of patent validity. Peterson explained that Judge Pregerson did not decide validity in Nomadix’s favor, but deferred this decision until later in the case. Trial is currently scheduled to occur in early 2017. 

In a prior decision, Judge Pregerson ruled that Blueprint RF can present its “inequitable conduct” evidence that the patents are invalid due to alleged “fraud on the Patent Office” committed when Nomadix originally obtained the patents. “This unusual ruling is a big deal in a case like this,” Peterson said.

Peterson has remained firm in his stance against Nomadix.  “The rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated. When the final arguments are heard, I believe we will prevail and hotels will no longer be required to pay pass-through licensing fees earmarked for Nomadix. This result would absolutely benefit the entire industry by lowering costs for providing guest Internet access, and freeing the industry to innovate,“ said Peterson.

It’s important to note that Blueprint RF is investing in a two-pronged legal defense, including preparation for trial in court and separately challenging validity of the patents at the U.S. Patent Office. The company has recently filed Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) with the United States Patent Trial and Review Board (PTAB) to invalidate five patents, with additional challenges in the works. If Blueprint is successful and the United States Patent office agrees, all of the patents will be found invalid.

It appears that this case is far from over, with trial and the initial decisions from the Patent Office scheduled and appeals to likely follow. In the meantime, we will keep you posted on future developments.

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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