18 July 2009

Warning: Greenmail on Travel Web Search?

I am catching up on a lot of things that have arrived in my "Interesting Stuff" files. About 3 weeks ago I received an email from an Intellectual Property Attorney Group offering for sale U.S. Patent No. 6,381,597 – “Electronic Shopping agent which is capable of operating with vendor sites which have disparate formats” For a view of the offer go here: http://catalog.oceantomoauctions.com/auction/lot/view/1/A2

I waited till I got home to see about this. The owning company is Omni Travel Search Inc. That rang a bell but not quite sure (I am of course getting a bit older so not enough grey matter to go round). So I persisted in my search. The only registered user of the product was a website called SweetFare.com. A US based company focused on US and Asia business. However it seems only to search on the big boys of Orbitz, Expedia and CheapTickets.

I'll bite even more...

The registrant of Sweetfare.com will be revealed in a minute but doing a search of Sweetfare showed a lot of posts and articles linked to Travel Mole. All of them pretty positive.

It seems that the owner of Omni Search is Omnitourism who just also happens to own Travel Mole.

Disclaimer here - A joint venture between this group and T2 created a 2007/8 study on LCCs via a service called www.inthekno.com.

What worries me is that the patent could clearly affect quite a few people. Will the new (or old one if it doesn't sell) owner go after the likes of Bing, Skyscanner, Mobissimo and Yatra?

Well this should be interesting. If you wish to buy this patent - then the reserve price is $200,000. Please contact Mr Paul Greco his email is: pgreco@oceantomo.com

And for the record - I don't support this form of behavior in any shape or form.

Best of Luck.

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