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I don't understand how Optimizely (https://www.optimizely.com/) and VWO (https://www.vwo.com/) exist after seeing an A/B testing patent here:

http://www.google.com/patents/US7975000

Also what about this: A personal emergency system via a mobile device called Emergensee (http://emergensee.com/). They have patented this method and technology here:

https://www.google.com/patents/WO2011162927A3?cl=en&dq=emergensee&hl=en&sa=X&ei=otzWU7OjKanE8AGT3YGoAg&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAQ

Does this restrict me from making another one with a slight difference? Or what can/can't I do? Can I make an open source version and put it for free on app market?

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1 Answer 1

The patent US7975000 describes a specif way of doing A/B testing.

This means that it is that specific method which is patented, and anybody who creates a different method may be free to implement, sell or patent it in it's own right as long as it does not conflict with the specific method already patented.

The evaluation of if the second implementation is violating the patented method needs a subject matter expert. The onerous is on the patent holder to exercise their right to the patent, so if they don't do that out of philosophy or ignorance then other people can get away with implementations which potentially could violate a patent. Many tech giants has a 'defensive' strategy in their patent portfolio where they aim never to sue anybody unless sued first.

Alternatively a patent holder could also license their patents and get right to implement the invention in their own environment -- this famously happened with Amazon's one-click patent.

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Is it possible to get feedback from here about implementing something similar to Emergensee? Or how do I get more information on this topic? –  tabchas Jul 29 at 4:23
    
WO2011162927 is an application, not a grant. There is no patent until its granted, however if it is granted in the future it would be effective from the filing date. The application appears to be for a very specific implementation, which can be seen from the claims which has to be implemented in full to be covered by this patent. –  Soren Jul 29 at 6:08
    
Also, making something open source does not circumvent and patent issues -- a patent holder still have rights if you implement something and make it open source -- they could try claim damages from you, or they could try claim royalty payments of people using your open source software. –  Soren Jul 29 at 6:13
    
If your inventions differs from what is claimed in WO2011162927 then it may be a new invention not covered by the patent and you may be able to patent your version in its own right. –  Soren Jul 29 at 6:16
    
Hmm, I guess my question is how "different" does something have to be? For instance, it says Emergensee is a mobile application that has a duress button which sends GPS coordinates, live video or pictures, to another person or phone. If I simply changed the trigger, which is a "touching a button" on a phone app for Emergensee to a physical press of a tactile button, and do the same thing they do after that, is that enough of a change? –  tabchas Jul 29 at 13:46

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