Wednesday, May 14, 2003

“Text”-Savvy RP Techies Granted Patents for Innovative SMS Products

Philippine-based Chikka Asia, Inc., and affiliate Bidshot, a mobile messaging and wireless services companies confirmed they have received patent grants from the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. Patent grants are also expected shortly from the other countries signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Applications had in fact been filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that extends patent protection to most major wireless markets including The Philippines and majority of European countries.

“Patents are an integral part of our investment in technology and our effort to establish the Philippines as a regional center for excellence in wireless applications development,” said Dennis Mendiola, Chikka Asia Inc., chief executive officer.

The patented methods and systems are employed in Chikka’s mobile-centric Instant Messenger, which connects PC users to cellular phones through text messaging or SMS (Short Message Service on GSM networks) and also in their other wireless applications and services. “Chikka” connects to all major Philippine GSM operators.

The announcement came at the heels of search reports confirming “no prior art” for Chikka’s patent-pending “suffixing” technology. A “no prior art” search report strongly suggests an inventive and novel technology and is the precursor of an actual patent grant.

“Suffixing” refers to the attachment of dynamic indices, be they numeric or alphabetic characters to a basic access code such as in 27701 or 277KISS wherein “277” is the main short code supplied by the GSM operator. A patent Chikka has filed says that depending on what a user texts to the main short code, the reply from its servers will have particular numbers attached to 277.

“This suffixing technology has allowed Chikka and Bidshot unparalleled creativity with plain SMS, making it (SMS) highly interactive. Thus, we have been able to adopt any successful model on the Net, like auction, instant messaging, Internet-related chat, or crush-dating, and bring them to the mobile texting world,” said Mendiola.

The patents were first employed for the PC to mobile texting application Chikka Txt Messenger where a message coming from a PC user is identified as coming from a basic access code plus the Chikka ID or in the case of a mobile user, the basic access code plus the GSM mobile phone number. In fact, a GSM number used as ones PC log-on ID is the subject of yet another patent.

Earlier, Bidshot Dotcom, a Chikka affiliate, assigned these “virtual GSM numbers” to transactions and items being auctioned off and bided upon by a community of buyers and sellers.

“The point has always been to give the mobile user more things to do through SMS while retaining the simplicity, intuitiveness and ease of use that has been at the very center of our love affair with text,” said Mendiola.

The two companies have in fact, ventured out of their original messaging and m-commerce platforms to exclusively employ these patented and patent-pending processes in mobile promotions and advertising, SMS-interactive TV and for corporate solutions such as text hotline and text radio.

A Singapore-registered subsidiary, Chikka Pte, Ltd., holds title to all of Chikka’s intellectual property assets, including all international treaty and national patents, brand names, trademarks and service marks.