NetCurrents Scores Real-Time Technology Patent

Beverly Hills, Calif.’s NetCurrents Inc. Tuesday secured a patent for its
real-time search application, a technology that enables monitoring of
Internet messaging activity important to businesses for which up-to-date
information is vital.

NetCurrents, which bills itself as the “Premier Internet Intelligence
Agency,” has been granted U.S. Patent Number 6,260,041, making it the first
real-time technology patent offered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However,
the patent cannot be viewed online yet as the office’s patent service has
only been updated through July 3, according to a message on the site.

The new patent covers functionality of the company’s Fast Internet Real-Time
Search Technology (FIRST), which allows NetCurrents to monitor Internet
communications about a company, its products or its competitors. A sample of
an analysis NetCurrents’ software would conduct may be found here, and a demo of
FIRST may be viewed here.

A patent equals protection for NetCurrents to be sure, but to put how the
real-time technology is crucial in better perspective, think about the
effect that false information about public firms posted on online bulletin
boards has affected the stock market. The victimized company has had to
spend hours assuaging alarmed investors. With NetCurrents real-time
technology, the truth can be put out across the Web much faster than in the

In a decidedly confident public statement, NetCurrents’ Vice President of
Product Strategy Michael O’Hara acknowledged the patent presents a
“formidable barrier to entry for any competition which seeks to search the
Internet in real-time for customer specific information.”

“This patent is the first step in a multi-layer strategy designed to protect
our competitive position and enhance shareholder value,” O’Hara continued.
“Based on our recent perpetual license agreement with MindfulEye, we have
secured in-house a superior technology for the real-time classification of
unstructured text into categories, relevance and sentiment through an
artificial intelligence engine. Both of these technologies are key
components powering our premier application for monitoring consumer opinion
on the Internet.”

NetCurrents currently monitors more than 100,000 Internet locations and
3,800 online publications in what serves as a kind of Big
Brother-gauges-public-perception capacity. As underscored by Tuesday’s
patent grant, the company is a forerunner in the knowledge management
sector, one in which research firm IDC Corp. claims will see a spending
increase of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41 percent, from $2.3
billion in 2000 to $12.7 billion in 2005.

“Knowledge management is the new frontier for most companies,” said Greg
Dyer, senior research analyst for IDC’s Knowledge
Management Services program. “Corporate managers understand the benefit of
capturing and sharing intellectual capital, but
they do not understand the process of putting it into action. As a result,
there is a great opportunity for vendors that can develop and apply KM
solutions around specific business problems that clients are trying to
solve, such as employee retention. By doing so, vendors help KM lose its
ambiguity and become a value-adding tool.”

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