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RPost Gets Two More Fundamental Patents on E-Mail Tracking

RPost intends to license them to thousands of e-mail service providers

RPost, the company that owns Registered Email, has gotten two new patents that cover the systems and methods service providers use to track e-mail delivery or failure using server logs.

RPost says the protocol-level technology was novel in 1999 when RPost first filed for the patents and widely used today.

The new patents are US Patent numbers 8,224,913, granted the week before last, and 8,209,389, granted in June.

RPost intends to license them to thousands of e-mail service providers and "vigorously pursue infringement proceedings against unlicensed users."

That includes e-mail marketers, e-mail campaign delivery companies, social media companies, postal operators and cloud-based business applications. It says most e-mail service providers and cloud business applications have begun to differentiate their products by providing more analytics so their customers can measure the success or failure of the delivery of messages.

The widgetry has gotten particularly popular in Big Data analysis.

According to RPost the covered tracking methods are being used by nearly every company that provides e-mail sending services on behalf of their customers as well as business applications that include sending e-mail as part of their process.

It estimates that more than 50 billion messages a year are covered by its new patents.

CEO Zafar Khan said, "RPost pioneered the use, as a service provider, of recording server logs, analyzing those logs, and using that information as the basis to determine successful e-mail delivery or failure. RPost published this technology in its 1999 patent application. Most e-mail servers have now built this technology into their reporting and analytics applications; most e-mail service providers now offer this information to their customers in the form of status, delivery or bounce reports."

RPost reckons that with the new patents it holds the most complete set of patents around e-mail tracking and proof. It has used the proof of content, time and delivery technology, including the web bugs patent (US Patent 8,161,104) it got recently covering when e-mail is opened, in its Registered Email services since the early 2000s.

The ‘913 patent covers the methods and systems that let a messaging provider issue the sender a record of delivery or failure based on SMTP and ESMTP transmission records at the server. SMTP and ESMTP are the worldwide standard protocols for e-mail transmission.

The ‘389 covers the methods and systems a messaging provider uses to interpret the mail transport protocol dialogs and issue the sender a record of e-mail receipt.

The ‘104 patent covers methods and systems that let a messaging provider issue the sender a record of the e-mails opened using the HTML widgetry known as web beacons or web bugs.

The company is setting up a licensing program to handle the new basic tracking and reporting patents. Khan said they'll probably cost "pennies per message."

RPost brought suit for infringement last year against Swiss Post, Canada Post, ZixCorp, DocuSign, Adobe Echosign, RightSignature and Farmers Insurance, among others, in federal courts in California, Texas and Virginia.

The earliest jury trial against Swiss Post is scheduled to start this November. Motions for summary judgment should be filed by September.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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