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51Degrees European Patent Upheld

Published on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

51Degrees European Patent Upheld

European Patent Office rejects Afilias Technologies’ opposition to 51Degrees’ Patent

European Patent Office Decision

On 8th May 2018, the European Patent Office (EPO) rejected the patent opposition, submitted by Afilias Technologies, upholding 51Degrees’ European Patent EP2871816 " Identifying Properties of a Communication Device" with one minor change to remove four words. 51Degrees’ position as the only innovator in the device detection space is now affirmed.

What is Device Detection?

In an age of digital transformation and the increasing volume of activity on mobile devices, companies need to understand the capabilities of mobile phones and other devices accessing their websites or apps, in order to optimise the content provided and analyse web traffic.

51Degrees’ device detection solution provides intelligence which helps companies understand where online content is performing best on any given device, regardless of screen size. The data also excludes any bots/crawler traffic, enabling more accurate targeting, better customer experience, improving a company’s bottom line. 

The History

In July 2017 after eight long years of deliberation, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted Afilias’ patent  EP2245836B1  “Determining a property of a communication device”. Previously in December 2016, 51Degrees’ European patent was opposed by Afilias, for reasons including that it is not new over Afilias’ aforementioned patent used within its DeviceAtlas product. 51Degrees have produced a summary (which you can read here) of the algorithms in question for the lay reader to quickly understand how each works. There is no similarity beyond the use of a small number of long-established computing concepts connected in very different ways, and clearly the EPO agrees.

Early indication the EPO agreed with 51Degrees

Back in September 2017, the EPO appeared inclined to side with 51Degrees, given they dismissed all but one of the attacks against 51Degrees’ patent in their September 2017 preliminary opinion. 51Degrees had to wait until 8th May 2018 for their judgement and were delighted, but not surprised, that the patent was upheld.

Mr James Rosewell, CEO and founder of 51Degrees stated,

“It is flattering that Afilias, the second largest Internet domain name registry, felt threatened enough by 51Degrees’ innovation to go as far as opposing one of our patents. The EPO’s decision provides conclusive proof 51Degrees is the leading innovator in device detection and that there is no similarity with Afilias’ outdated technology. The decision is so firmly in 51Degrees’ favour Afilias would be foolish to appeal, however we’re ready should they decide to do so”.

51Degrees = Innovation and open source

Since 2011, 51Degrees has grown to become a respected commercial open source business and has 4 granted patents with 2 more pending, plus plenty of backing. A list of some industry firsts are available here, including launching the first native app support in 2016.

Leaders in AdTech, Publishing, Content Management Platforms, Digital Agencies and over 1.5 million websites including global brands like eBay, Sitecore, and Disney use 51Degrees' Device Detection solutions. 51Degrees performs with better than 99.9% matching accuracy against more than 925,000* combinations of device models, Operating Systems, Browsers and Apps.

*Numbers accurate at the time of publication but may be higher.

Published in PRLeap 08/05/2018

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Chris Rudwick
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