FINANCE

NRF: Patent ‘trolls’ must be addressed

BY Dan Berthiaume

Washington, D.C. – In a statement submitted to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on April 8, the National Retail Federation (NRF) urged Congress to address what it sees as an increasing threat to retailers: patent trolls. Patent trolls are entities that purchase overly-broad patents with the sole intent of suing retailers and other end-users of technology that allegedly infringe on those patents.

French’s comments came in a statement submitted to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee, which is examining patent trolls’ use of intentionally-vague demand letters — the initial letters legitimate businesses receive accusing them of patent infringement. NRF described how it sees patent trolls as abusing the patent and legal systems, hampering technological innovation, crowding the courts, inhibiting job creation, and driving up costs for retailers and consumers alike.

“Trolls’ claims not only affect e-commerce applications and the everyday use of technology, but also…the storefront operations of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers,” NRF senior VP David French said. “Some real world examples … cover point-of-sale and inventory control equipment, including; scanning barcodes, printing receipts, the sale of gift cards, and the connection of…a computer or printer to an Ethernet network.

“Trolls target retailers because…they are more numerous than manufacturers and suppliers, and therefore are more profitable to the trolls,” French said. “Trolls also know that retailers have less technological expertise to defend the allegedly infringing products [and] operate on thin profit margins and do not have the resources to fight back.”

NRF data shows that retailers often settle trolls’ claims rather than challenge them in court due to the fact that the average case takes about 18 months and costs roughly $2 million to adjudicate. In response to the growing patent troll problem, which the NRF estimates costs the economy $30 billion a year, NRF supports legislative and regulatory proposals aimed at requiring greater transparency and specificity from the trolls, and stopping the trolls’ abusive and costly behavior before the suit ever reaches a court.

French said NRF supports legislative proposals to have the Federal Trade Commission look into patent troll demand letters under its current authority to investigate unfair and deceptive trade practices.

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Delhaize America optimizes pricing, promotions

BY Dan Berthiaume

Salisbury, N.C. – Delhaize America has entered into a multi-year agreement for Revionics Life Cycle Price Optimization solutions, which include Revionics Price Optimization, Revionics Promotion Optimization and Revionics Markdown Optimization. The agreement also includes Revionics Advanced Analytics services: key value item (KVI) analysis, item clustering and market basket analysis.

The Revionics Life Cycle Price Optimization software will help Delhaize America streamline its capabilities to execute data-driven, shopper-centric pricing, promotion and markdown strategies as well as tactics to enhance price image, foster stronger customer loyalty and respond quickly to dynamic market conditions. Leveraging Revionics’ core price management capabilities, Delhaize America hopes to be able to efficiently and consistently execute their pricing business rules.

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Paragon Software introduces home delivery system in U.S.

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas – Paragon Software Systems Inc., a provider of vehicle routing and scheduling optimization solutions, is introducing Paragon HDS (Home Delivery System) to the U.S. market. Paragon HDS is designed to enable home delivery and home service companies to offer more accurate delivery times while improving fleet efficiency.

The software allows companies to integrate multichannel ordering and delivery booking with real-time route scheduling. It runs continually and routes orders while they are being placed, optimizing efficiency and providing narrow time slots for delivery.

“In today’s market, customers increasingly expect reliable, low cost delivery as part of the sale,” said William Salter, CEO and president, Paragon Software Systems. “Unfortunately, consumers can be let down by inadequate home delivery services that are either inconvenient, too costly, or result in late or missed deliveries. By using Paragon HDS, logistics departments will be able to work more closely with customer services departments to provide service improvements that will help build brand loyalty, as well as win new business, while reducing costly delivery failures. The improvements in customer service are balanced with the company’s home delivery resources, with the software continuously optimizing the home delivery routes as new orders are placed.”

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