Retailers' Association examines patent claim

The organisation representing New Zealand's retail industry is alarmed by the potential impact of DE Technologies' patent claims against local e-tailers.

The organisation representing New Zealand’s retail industry is alarmed by the potential impact of DE Technologies’ patent claims against local e-tailers.

Barry Hellberg, the New Zealand Retailers Association’s government relations consultant, says the association has received legal advice about the patent.

Earlier this year lawyers acting for DE Technologies sent letters to some online retailers asking for licensing fees of $10,000, ongoing royalties, and “per document” charges.

“One of our members asked us what on earth this thing was about,” Hellberg says. Last week he posted a message to a mailing list run by the Fight The Patent group, a loose affiliation of organisations affected by DE Technologies’ patent, asking for information about the patent and whether the association can get into “the consultative loop”.

The NZRA has 4600 members, representing an industry worth $5 billion a year, so it wishes to know exactly how the patent could affect retailers, Hellberg says. “It seems to us that this thing might well be of concern to those retailers that develop websites.”

Meanwhile, InternetNZ’s new patent advisory group met for the first time last week (see Patent group sets ball rolling).

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