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I have a customer who wants to issue a small tag card with a magnetic stripe. The card size is 66 x 40 mm. It is not a payment card, just a loyalty membership card. Only a membership number will be encoded in track 2 and this number is only used for linking the card to a loyalty system.

Regarding US Patent US6471127 B2, the proposed loyalty membership tag card (small tag card) seems to fall into the size range described in this patent. As described above, would my customer's proposed loyalty membership card fall within the scope of the claims of the '127 patent?

Claim 1

A data card comprising a first face, a second face, and a magnetic stripe comprising stored encoded data, wherein the dimensions of the card are in the range of about 1 inch by about 1 inch to about 1⅞ inches by about 3 inches, and the lengthwise dimension of the magnetic stripe is in the range of about 1 inch to about 3 inches, and wherein the encoded data can be read by a magnetic stripe reader configured to read magnetic stripes compliant with ISO/IEC 7811.

Claim 20

A data card comprising a first face, a second face, and a magnetic stripe comprising stored encoded data, wherein the largest dimension of the card is about 2{fraction (9/16)} inches, and the lengthwise dimension of the magnetic stripe is in the range of about 1 inch to about 2{fraction (9/16)} inches, and wherein the encoded data can be read by a magnetic stripe reader configured to read magnetic stripes compliant with ISO/IEC 7811.

Claim 39

A data card comprising a first face, a second face, an angled edge, and a magnetic stripe comprising stored encoded data, wherein the largest dimension of the card is in the range of about 1⅞ inches to about 3 inches, and the lengthwise dimension of the magnetic stripe is in the range of about 1 inch to about 3 inches, and wherein the encoded data can be read by a magnetic stripe reader configured to read magnetic stripes compliant with ISO/IEC 7811.

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1 Answer 1

The trick in this patent seems to be having the full format of standard information on a mag stripe that is too short. They do it with a higher density of bits/inch. I think what makes the claims anything at all is the requirement of being readable with a standard ISO7811 reader and an interpretation of that as requiring a full format of data.

I would think twice before making anything like it without getting real advice from an attorney.

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