QR Code Lawsuit: Could You Be Sued For Using a Barcode on Direct Mail?

qr_codeA few days ago, I learned from an industry source that a group calling themselves “Secured Mail Solutions” is filing lawsuits against a number of high-profile companies claiming infringement on two patents related to QR codes.  At MindFire, a number of our Clients utilize QR codes within their multi-channel marketing automation workflows, so my interest was piqued.

The lawsuit includes some fairly well-known companies like RR Donnelley, Harte-Hanks, Microdynamics, Vertis and others.

It was explained to me that these patents both pertain to the use of a barcode on direct mail, where the barcode is linked to a database for purposes of tracking. This description seems to include QR codes, as well as POSTNET barcodes.

Please note that I have not had time to personally investigate these claims — nor seek legal counsel — so don’t take my post as a statement of fact, nor any official position from our company.  I’m merely musing on what I’ve heard.

Secured Mail Solutions appears to be a company that owns the patents that are being enforced; you can see more here: http://securedmailsolutions.com/Intellectual_Property.html. If the lawsuits have merit, it could be somewhat disruptive for the industry, since there’s so much hoopla about using QR codes in marketing campaigns.

It also seems like this lawsuit would eventually have to involve the US Postal Service, since they now require the use of barcodes.

Lawsuit Information

Here’s what I’ve found:

Filed on: Jan. 30, 2013

Type: Complaint for Patent Infringement

Defendant(s):
1. Microdynamics Inc
2. Envelopes Unlimited Inc
3. Harte-Hanks Direct Inc
4. Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing Cincinnati Inc
5. Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing Baltimore Inc
6. Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing Jacksonville LLC
7. Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing Dallas Inc
8. Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing Fullerton Inc
9. Harte-Hanks Inc
10 Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing Kansas City LLC
11. Harte-Hanks Print Inc
12. Microdynamics Group Inc
13. Microdynamics Corporation
14. R R Donnelley and Sons Company
15. Vertis Inc
16. Vertis Holdings Inc
17. Advanced Image Direct LLC

Plaintiff(s): Secured Mail Solutions LLC

Patent(s) in Suit:
• 7,814,032: “System and method for mail verification” by Fitzsimmons.. Includes 22 claims (2 indep.). Was application 11/519,739. Filed 9/11/2006 & Granted 10/12/2010.
• 7,818,268: “System and method for mail verification” by Fitzsimmons.. Includes 56 claims (3 indep.). Was application 10/271,471. Filed 10/15/2002 & Granted 10/19/2010.

What do you think?  If you have time to look into this, leave me your thoughts in the comments.  As soon as I have more information, I’ll post an update.

Israel Diary Day 7: Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee (+photos)

israel_day_7This is the seventh day in my Israel diary, where I’m attending the HP Indigo VIP Event in Tel Aviv.  See Day 1 in Tel Aviv hereDay 2 in Jerusalem and Bethlehem hereDay 3 at the HP Indigo offices in Nes-Ziona hereDay 4 at Pageflex and Caesarea here, Day 5 at the HP Indigo Plant in Kiryat Gat here, and Day 6 here.

Today, HP has arranged for two tour options: Jerusalem, or Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee.  Since I’ve already visited Jerusalem, and given that President Obama is said to be tying up significant amounts of the city and corresponding traffic, I decide to head to Nazareth and Galilee.

A fantastic tour guide leads our bus, and two Vision staff members join us for the day.  Vision is the company that HP used to facilitate the HP Indigo event.

Yonatan is our 24-year old security detail, and is tall (probably 6’3″), and armed with a pistol stuck in his Read more of this post

Update on (Homeless) Dave [+some things he needs]

photo-33

Dave heads back into the city he calls home.

After about a month of little contact, Dave and I were able to connect this morning.  As we headed to and from Rock Harbor, he shared his feelings, thoughts, and hopes.

(If you missed the last post about how we lost contact, as well as the letter Dave gave me to post for you, click here.)

Having passed the 1 year mark of being without a home, his spirits are challenged.  Not only is it hard being on the street, but he’s also seeing friends affected by drugs and alcohol.  Others have become “comfortable,” and their lack of desire to change their lifestyle worries him.

Dave is tired, dirty, sleeping poorly, and a bit depressed — but remains hopeful that the OC Rescue Mission will provide a gateway to getting back on his feet.  Click here to read a post about my visit to the amazing OC Rescue Mission.

That said, I’m continually amazed by his ability to easily interact with others, and socialize with people he barely knows.  I saw that (again) today, and it reminds me what an amazing person lies beneath the tired exterior.

This past week, Dave’s backpack was stolen, which unfortunately contained a lot of his basic necessities.  I asked him what he needed, and while he hesitated to ask for anything, he finally relented and gave me a list of things he needs most.

If you feel led to contribute, I’ve provided a few ways at the bottom of this post:

  • Phone charger (not for iPhone, but the kind that looks like a small USB); his last one was stolen
  • Verizon phone card, for his pay-as-you-go phone
  • Size 10 shoes; his current shoes have holes in the them from walking and facing the elements
  • Backpack; his trusty companion was recently stolen from outside Starbucks (including everything in it)
  • Hair cut, if anyone works in a  salon or is willing to help, please let me know
  • Bus pass, which helps him get to places he collects cans, check his mail, and hopefully soon, interview at the OC Rescue Mission

Again, do not feel you need to do anything.  I told him to have no expectations, but that I would bring these needs before you, Team Dave, and we’ll see what happens.

Here’s how you can contribute:

  • Give me the items (if you know me personally, you know how), or arrange a way via the comments below
  • Mail stuff to:

Care of David Rosendahl
30 Corporate Park, Suite 400
Irvine, CA 92606

In the comments, please let me know if you have any questions, or if you are able to meet any of the needs so that I can cross them off.

Thanks for joining me in this journey!

-Dave

Israel Diary Day 6: HP Indigo VIP Event, Tel Aviv (+photos)

cover_shot_joffa_goodThis is the sixth day in my Israel diary, where I’m attending the HP Indigo VIP Event in Tel Aviv.  See Day 1 in Tel Aviv hereDay 2 in Jerusalem and Bethlehem here, Day 3 at the HP Indigo offices in Nes-Ziona here, Day 4 at Pageflex and Caesarea here, and Day 5 at the HP Indigo Plant in Kiryat Gat here.

Today, HP has arranged another full day of events.  In the morning, I take part in a session conducted by Vivian Cohen-Leisorek, who is Strategic Marketing Product Manager for HP, where she discusses various creative applications of digital printing powered by the Indigo.  It’s exciting to see how Clients have utilized the technology — and many of them are MindFire Clients.  Love seeing that!

Next, Lior Krasnovsky reviews SmartStream Production Center, which is a product we’ve integrated with, and describes how it helps to improve the processing of a large volume of short-run jobs. Read more of this post

A Letter From (Homeless) Dave

Dave's not to you, back

Dave’s handwritten note to you, his “Team Dave”

As you may know, it has been a few weeks since I last saw Dave. (If you haven’t been following his story, you can start reading about it here.)

Suddenly, and without warning, I lost contact with him. Life has been so busy with travel, work, and family, that I haven’t been able to get out on the streets and look for him — until today.

I spent about 2 hours searching Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, driving, parking, and walking around spots I recall him speaking about. I looked under bridges, behind buildings, and in parking lots. I drove around in circles, wondering, praying, and asking for guidance to find a needle in the haystack of a busy city.

About to give up, I decided to look in the parking lot of a Starbucks we’ve sometimes met. I parked, and walked around, hoping for something.

I suddenly remembered

Read more of this post

Israel Diary Day 5: HP Indigo Plant in Kiryat Gat (+photos)

day_5_coverToday’s agenda is scheduled from start to finish by HP, and is focused on events at the Kiryat Gat Indigo plant.  At 7:45, a bus picks us up to take us on an hour’s journey.

On the bus, I meet Frank Hood, who runs InfoVine in Houston, Texas.  We have a great conversation, and end up seeing quite a bit of each other over the next few days.  Frank is working on his second company, having built and sold the first a few years back.

At the plant, we are scheduled to see various parts of the facility, demonstrating the enormous amount of innovation and engineering that goes into supporting the Indigo.  We start by hearing from Alon Bar-Shany, who runs the entire Indigo Division.  After Alon, we hear from various parts of the organization, and I pick up a lot of interesting ideas.

For example, I learn that HP has a support mechanism called “shared support,” which Frank explains to me is devised to motivate clients like him to invest in training their press operators to a designated level of competency.  When the operator reaches that level, the support fees charged by HP drop considerably (something like 60%).  The idea resonates with me, and I immediately think about how we might be able to apply that to our multichannel marketing automation.

In the evening, HP arranges for dinner at Reading 3, which is at the Tel Aviv port.  We have an enjoyable dinner, and are treated to a show by a local group of entertainers.  Plenty of laughs ensue!

We arrive home around 11:30, and although I’m a bit wound up, sleep is necessary, as tomorrow is filled with more HP activities.

Here are some photos from the day; click to enjoy!

[VIDEO] MindFire & HP SmartStream Production Center Integration

At last month’s DSCOOP in Nashville, we unveiled integration we’ve been working on with the HP SmartStream team.  It’s been fun working with their team, as they’re dedicated, passionate, and very hands-on (as you’ve seen from the Israel diary, I got to spend some quality time at their office in Israel).

In short, our marketing automation workflows can now easily output print-ready PDFs (via the HP Composer), and those PDFs are sent to HP’s Production Center for print on the Indigo.  This is what our Marketing Studio looks like, and an example of marketing automation workflow:

multi-touch

Our Marketing Studio, which is a drag-and-drop environment for creating multi-channel workflows

We invested in this integration because both MindFire and HP believe that marketers are rapidly adopting marketing automation technology to optimize their lead generation.  While most marketing automation campaigns use digital channels (like email, mobile and social media), print is sometimes underutilized because of workflow complexities.  (Or in some cases, not used at all!)

This is why we made it our goal to enable our mutual users to generate a triggered print piece as easily as a triggered email or text message.  While there’s more work to do, I certainly think we’re on our way.

Above is a short video the HP team put together on their Production Center, showing how marketing automation print pieces are prepared for print.  Enjoy!

Israel Diary Day 4: Pageflex and Caesarea (+photos)

israel_day_4

This is the fourth day in my Israel diary, where I’m attending the HP Indigo VIP Event in Tel Aviv.  See Day 1 in Tel Aviv here, Day 2 in Jerusalem and Bethlehem here, and Day 3 at the HP Indigo offices in Nes-Ziona here.

Another successful night of sleep.  After a great breakfast downstairs, I make my way back to the room to take care of some emails.  There’s some follow-up to do on a patent we just filed (here’s a post on what the patent process is like), as well as a few other things to check on back home.  Overall, there don’t appear to be any major fires (a concern whenever I travel).

At 9:00, Gadi from Pageflex picks me up to head to their office.  Gadi is responsible for customer support at Pageflex, and we have an engaging conversation about life, work, and Israel/US relations.  As we’re traveling on the freeway, traffic comes to a complete standstill.  I don’t mean we’re moving a few miles an hour — I mean that people are completely stopped, getting out of their cars and walking around.  Waze tells us there’s an accident ahead.

After waiting about 20 minutes, we notice Read more of this post

Israel Diary Day 3: HP Indigo and Nes-Ziona (+photos)

israel_day_3_coverThe third day in my Israel diary, where I’m attending the HP Indigo VIP Event in Tel Aviv.  See Day 1 in Tel Aviv here, Day 2 in Jerusalem and Bethlehem here.

Finally, I slept a complete night, and awoke feeling rested.  I can’t recall how long it took my body to adjust last time I traveled to this part of the world, but I’m starting to feel a bit more alive.

After a wonderful breakfast, I retreated to my room to write, respond to emails, and check on my wife and baby.   All seems OK at home, except that Abby has been a bit more difficult that usual.  I hope she doesn’t drive mommy crazy!

On my agenda today is a visit to the HP Indigo offices in Nes-Ziona, to meet with Gershon Alon (he oversees the Workflow Solutions at HP Indigo) and further our integration with SmartStream (which we unveiled in Nashville a month ago), and discuss other cooperative goals.

I struggle to find a Read more of this post

Israel Diary Day 2: Jerusalem & Bethlehem (+photos)

Israel Diary day 2

The second day in my Israel diary, where I’m attending the HP Indigo VIP Event in Tel Aviv.  See Day 1 in Tel Aviv here.

I awoke at 3:30 AM, fully aware that it was too early to get up, but unable to coax myself back to sleep.  So around 4:30 I gave up, and resorted to responding to emails and checking the news.

At 6:30, the hotel’s breakfast opened, which provided a wonderful array of options.  The display reminded me of being on a cruise — so many yummy things to try!

After eating and pounding a few cups of coffee, I made my way to the front of the hotel to wait for a tour bus (which I arranged the night before).  I choose a tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which cost around $90.  Compared to what I’ve paid in other countries, it wasn’t too expensive.

Promptly at 7:20, our tour guide (Absalom) appeared, requesting that I follow him to boarded his tour bus.  He was a friendly and very helpful guide, and when I return to Israel, I’ll definitely look him up again.  After picking up a few more tourists, we made our way for about 45 minutes to Jerusalem.  I made friends with a number of my fellow passengers, including an attorney from Ohio, and an auditor for Shell.

For the next 8 hours, he led us on a journey of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, a kibbutz, and back to the old city of Jerusalem.  Here are some (but certainly not all!) of the highlights: Read more of this post

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