by By Sarah J.F. Braley | September 23, 2009

Patent Issued for Virtual Meetings and Registration Software
Last week, the U.S. patent office issued a patent granting Software Management Inc. of Pittsburgh the monopoly rights to "a method and system for conducting multiple Internet-based conventions, events, conferences, trade shows and meetings including a plurality of meeting planner clients, exhibitor/sponsor clients and attendee clients, all using web browser computers and a central website server on the Internet." SMI originally filed for the patent in 2001, sending out letters claiming infringement of its patent-pending intellectual property and asking online users for $1,250 or more in payment per event that did not have a license. "The importance of this patent and possible challenges to it will be an issue for the meetings, trade show and convention industry in the months to come," said M&C legal expert Jonathan Howe. SMI has yet to indicate how it will enforce the patent.