Thursday, February 02, 2006

Neomedia Gets Camera Phone Bar Code Patent

Physical world connection player, Neomedia, gets patent that covers the capture and processing of bar codes explicitly from camera cell phones.

Barcodes are just another example of a physical world hyperlink, and the camera on the phone acts as the browser.

The patent reads:
A camera-enabled cell phone that is adapted to image a machine readable code such as a bar code, decode the bar code, send the bar code data over the Internet to a resolution server that will return an associated URL that will link the camera phone to content on an information server. Thus, by taking a picture of a bar code symbol, the camera phone will automatically retrieve content from the Internet that has been linked to that bar code

Charles W. Fritz, the company's founder and chairman, said that NeoMedia also has patents covering search, location-based ads, and "other enabling technology for a wide range of mobile marketing activities and applications.

He also states,"Our patented technology is a mobile marketing necessity,".

Patent 6,993,573


Anonymous said...

Great article - you're on top of it as usual. Looks likes Neom's bridge just got wider and stronger.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I think I was wrong about that being on Scanbuy site.

Anonymous said...


This is a neat feature, but I don't see it available to the consumer anywhere. Any idea when they'll offer it?


Scott Shaffer said...

It isn't available to the consumer on a platform yet in the States.

There are still a couple problems to resolve.

1. the issue with the lens on the camera phone. (try taking a picture of a barcode) and see if YOU can recognize it. There are few things in the works that will resolve this.

2. You click on a barocde. Now what? There has to be content to deliver. Other than ScanBuy with their price comparison app, and a cpl small private label applications, what does this scanning offer?

That soon changes.

3. Wireless carriers need to get their head out the sand and realize they are sitting on gold mine (they need to be shown some "innovative vision")

They (SP) just need to see what's in it for them. Then they put this app on handsets. That story hasn't been told right...yet

Implementing the physical world connection application is a monumental task.

Obstacles include: carrier standards, handset capabilities, difft operating system and the lens doesn't work yet.

Be patient. The longer it takes for a new technology to get implemented, the bigger the impact it will have.

One of the main projects Visionary Innovations is involved with, is educating and facilitating the physical world connection technology.

You would be amazed at the companies that are showing interest in this application.

Anonymous said...

This patent DOES NOT cover reading barcodes with a camera phone. They are actually getting a patent on a web redirect which was covered in the W3 specifications by Tim Bernards Lee. Will this hold up?????

Anonymous said...

Van, any thoughts on the last comment?


Scott Shaffer said...

I ponder, I don't litigate.

I am looking into this patent.

Let me see if I can get an expert's opinion on this.

Scott Shaffer said...

Just doing my own investigative research (you can deposit my hourly fee at PayPal :) )

It looks like this the only patent that explicity states linking a "camera-enabled phone" and a "barcode" with the Internet.

I say "looks like" because I AM NOT A PATENT ATTORNEY.

"camera phone" AND "bar code" search at USPTO.

My guess is that the idea of linking a camera phone (let alone the idea of having a camera on a mobile phone) and a bar code was not thought of until the last few years.

The above info is only as good as what you paid for it.

Anonymous said...

The "bridge" just got more reinforcement :-) me thinks. But I suspect, given the $tuff at stake here, it will be tested further at some point with litigation beyond what's been ongoing with Scanbuy....JMO...unless, of course, some BIG players license the Paperclick IP....

Anonymous said...

Van: Thanks for the read on the patent issue. I thought the comment was bogus. I think your reward is forthcoming...


Anonymous said...

Well, I thought of the idea of using a mobile as a 1D barcode scanner in 2000 to access the new WAP sites via IP-address but never went through with a patent as a quick look at the process indicated that there was in fact no part that could be patented as it is all pretty much open standards based. In fact there is a new open Java standard (JSR-257) contactless communications that will included barcode recognition.

Neomedia so called patent sounds bogus to me and I doubt it will hold up -remember BT trying to claim the hyperlink?

Anyway, which bit are they claiming -not the taking of the photo, not the decoding (open standard QR-R or Datamatrix), encoding of a URL? -passing to the browser? From there on its half a dozen more 'open' standards...

If this patent is held up it will hold the US back for years, it will slip further behind as Japan races ahead with their QR-Code based digital mobile society.

Anonymous said...

Shame on Neomedia for this patent. By the time this patent was filed the prior art on camera phone scanning was very deep and rich in Japan, Korea, Europe and even the US. Services had been launched and were widely known. If Neomedia is the "expert" that they claim to be in this area they should have known about this. However, take a look at the prior art listed on the patent and it is not there.

Anonymous said...

Annonymus said: " By the time this patent was filed the prior art on camera phone scanning was very deep and rich in Japan, Korea, Europe and even the US. "

If that is the case the IP claims are overruled by the state of technology and so Neomedia's claims worthless.

Rumour is there is an old patent that has it all..... but patent holder waits.

Scott Shaffer said...


You're the third person that has mentioned this "old patent".

I have done some extensive IP work around this PWC concept and see why people refer to this "old patent".

Dave said...

There is so much prior art.

I produced a running version of this system at the end of 2003 as part of my master's degree.

I didn't even think about patenting it, as it's been in operation in Asia for some years before that.

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