Omniture has a patent to its credit that deals obtaining link-related information using link-tracking servers. This is identical to the way that ClickMeter operates. When I search Google Patents, it is apparent that ClickMeter itself has no patents of its own. I would like to know how this is possible, given that Omniture was bought by Adobe, which now offers its own analytics solution.

What is protected by a patent is defined by its claims. Long and complicated claims are considered "narrower" than short claims because you need to implement each and every step of a claim to infringe on it. If you look at the cited patent, there are two independent claims (1 and 9). I'll quote them here. First claim 1:

  1. A method of capturing link-tracking information from a network user, the method comprising the steps of:

    requesting a Web page content from a content provider server via a data network;

    receiving a tracking enabled Web page via the data network, wherein the tracking enabled Web page contains a link tracking code that initializes an initial function which creates an array of links contained in the received tracking enabled Web page, at least a first and a second of the links in the array of links associated with a same uniform resource locator (URL) in the received tracking enabled Web page;

    determining a domain name of the received tracking enabled Web page;

    receiving a selection of the first link in the array of links;

    determining a domain name of the selected first link;

    comparing the domain name of the received tracking enabled Web page to the domain name of the selected first link to determine if they are the same; and

    sending a link tracking request and the array of links to a link tracking server via the data network, wherein the link tracking request corresponds to the selected first link;

    indicating an exit link in the link tracking request if the domain name of the received tracking enabled Web page and the domain name of the selected first link are not the same;

    and sending a Web page content request to a content provider server, wherein the Web page content request corresponds to the selected first link.

And claim 9:

  1. A method of capturing link-tracking information from a network user, the method comprising the steps of:

    requesting a Web page content from a content provider server via a data network;

    receiving a tracking enabled Web page via the data network;

    parsing the tracking enabled Web page to identify a link tracking code;

    identifying an initial function based on the link tracking code;

    creating an array of links contained in the received tracking enabled Web page using the initial function;

    obtaining a uniform resource locator (URL) for the received tracking enabled Web page;

    extracting a domain name for the tracking enabled Web page from the URL;

    receiving a selection of a link in the array of links; obtaining a URL for the selected link;

    extracting a domain name from the URL for the selected link;

    sending a link tracking request and the array of links to a link tracking server via the data network, wherein the link tracking request corresponds to the selected link;

    sending a Web page content request to a content provider server, wherein the Web page content request corresponds to the selected link;

    comparing the file name corresponding to the domain name for the tracking enabled Web page with the file name corresponding to the domain name for the selected link; and

    indicating an exit link in the link tracking request if the file name corresponding to the domain name for the selected link is not the same as the file name corresponding to the domain name for the tracking enabled Web page.

As you can see there are many steps in each claim. One only needs to avoid a single step to avoid infringement. I have no specific knowledge of how ClickMeter's software works so I can't describe how they circumvent US7502994 or any other relevant patents. However the narrowness of its claims suggests it is possible to do so. In addition, the patent is owned by Adobe Systems which is a huge company. I'm quite sure they are capable of enforcing their patent rights if they believe it is being infringed upon. It is even possible that ClickMeter has taken a license to this or other patents.

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