September 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)   TRADE SHOW INDUSTRY BALKS AT REQUEST FOR ROYALTIES
Firm Claims Online PatentsOnline registration and virtual events have become practical industry standards, but one company has taken the bold and controversial step of claiming patent rights to such technologies.

Pittsburgh-based meetings technology firm Software Management Inc. asserted its claims in a letter sent to competitors and colleagues this past spring.

“I have a right under the [law] to place infringers on notice and to obtain a reasonable royalty from those organizations who improperly exploit the claimed invention,” said Paul Franke, president and CEO of SMI. He added that to collect fees in the future, it was necessary to put possible infringers on notice this year.

Rajiv Jain, president of Baltimore-based tech company a2z, balked at SMI’s claim. “Our stand is that it’s not an invention, but what’s called a ‘prior art.’ Such things already existed prior to SMI filing its application,” said Jain.

In June, SMI also demanded royalties of $1,250 per event from associations with substantial Web conference infrastructures.

“It’s very difficult intellectually to conclude that one could obtain patent rights [pertaining to] all of the Internet-based activity that takes place with exhibitions,” said Steven Hacker, president of the Dallas-based International Association for Exhibition Management.

While SMI already has requested royalties, the company is not entitled to anything if its application is turned down. When asked if the company would return royalty monies if the patent application is rejected, SMI’s Franke said, “At the moment I don’t have an answer. I probably would, but I’m not obligated.”


What Association Executives Earn The gender gap in earnings grows in relation to size of organization, according to a 2001 compensation survey. Male CEOs Female CEOs Trade association $136,775 $92,125 Individual membership association $139,241 $85,204 Total staff size: 2 or fewer $75,000 $60,000 3 to 5 $95,640 $77,000 6 to 10 $116,550 $108,000 11 to 20 $138,200 $126,000 21 to 50 $201,923 $159,280 51 to 100 $237,900 $145,518 More than 100 $287,600 $249,233 Total annual budget: $300,000 or less $67,600 $54,789 $300,001 to $500,000 $75,600 $68,579 $500,001 to $750,000 $90,000 $72,800 $750,001 to $1 million $102,000 $87,525 $1,000,001 to $2.5 million $118,800 $112,425 $2,500,001 to $5 million $170,000 $137,100 $5,000,001 to $10 million $227,750 $160,585 $10,000,001 to $15 million $225,994 $171,750 More than $15 million $285,000 $256,269 Source: American Society of Association Executives

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