Legacy device detection algorithm freely available in Europe


10/6/2022 4:30 PM

Patent News

Today 51Degrees announce that our legacy pattern device detection algorithm, used in our Version 3 product, can be implemented by anyone in Europe without needing to seek prior permission from 51Degrees.

This announcement relates to a decision by a Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office that European Patent No. 2871816 used in our legacy device detection algorithm is revoked following a challenge from DeviceAtlas.

This development has absolutely no impact on any users of our software and services as it merely means that anyone can now freely implement the legacy algorithm outside the United States without seeking our prior permission.

The equivalent patents in the United States (US 9,332,086, US 9,350,823 and US 9,875,264) are unaffected, as are our patents related to our User-Agent Client Hint supporting Version 4 algorithms.

The Board of Appeal ruled against two previous decisions of the European Patent Office on a technicality, by concluding that the word “occurs” in the original text of the European patent application could not be replaced by the phrase “begins or ends”. The Board of Appeal did not question the patentability of 51Degrees’ invention.

We defended the patent because we believe that it is important for innovative businesses of any size to protect their innovation.

Version 4

Since the filing of this patent, we have launched Version 4 of our product. Version 3 is a legacy product that will eventually be retired; it is missing key features that are contained in Version 4 such as support for User-Agent Client Hints. We recommend users of our Version 3 product upgrade to Version 4 for a more accurate solution.

Upgrade to Version 4

Speaking after the hearing 51Degrees founder and CEO, James Rosewell, stated “It’s incredibly flattering that DeviceAtlas felt it was worth the investment attacking our legacy product at the final stage of the European patent process. Today 51Degrees’ objective is to support changes to the web, including User-Agent Client Hints, with our high-performance hash based device detection algorithm. Web site operators have until February 2023 to make the necessary changes. DeviceAtlas remains largely unchanged since 2009, whilst we’re now on the fourth iteration of our algorithm which continues to enjoy unchallenged patent protection on both sides of the Atlantic.”