Loyalty Vendors to Share Patents and Establish Interoperability under Visa Program
DETROIT & AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, (BUSINESS WIRE), May 22, 2003–Catuity, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTTY; ASX: CAT), Visa USA, Visa International and Welcome Real-time today announced they have entered into a patent cross license agreement that will increase the availability of interoperable systems for smart-card based loyalty rewards at the point of sale.
By creating the conditions for access to multiple providers, this agreement will let Visa Members and partners benefit from best of breed components and systems to deploy smart-card based loyalty solutions.
Under the Visa Loyalty Program Patent Agreement, Catuity, Visa and Welcome will cross license existing and future patents for Visa smart loyalty programs. This cross license will be worldwide and royalty-free until the last patent expires. The cross license will extend to all Visa affiliates, members and merchants. Participants will develop and promote interoperable loyalty solutions by integrating the Visa interoperability toolkits within their platforms. These toolkits, demonstrated by Visa, Welcome and Catuity during Cartes 2002, allow cards with one technology to be used in terminals connected to a different loyalty platform, and for data from different loyalty processing centers to be aggregated to enable customer service activities.
Michael V. Howe, President and CEO of Catuity said, “We believe this agreement will strengthen our partnership with Visa and furthers our cooperative technology relationship with Welcome. All Visa members and merchants can now implement smart Visa loyalty programs without the threat of patent claims from the parties to this agreement and with the benefits of interoperability between participants.”
This agreement is designed to benefit all users of Visa loyalty programs on smart cards and is an important step in achieving more rapid expansion of the market for loyalty programs using smart cards. Parties to the agreement are licensing their patent portfolio and committing to developing, marketing and deploying interoperable solutions.
Howe added: “Although Catuity has and will continue to appropriately protect our technology with patents, we are committed to achieving faster market adoption of real time loyalty systems worldwide.”
Aneace Haddad, President and CEO of Welcome Real-time said, “Adoption of a common interoperability platform immediately removes barriers to the deployment of value-added services for smart cards. Card issuers and merchants can mix and match software products from different vendors, which we believe will encourage innovation and accelerate the development of a dynamic industry. We deeply appreciate Visa’s active encouragement of the industry’s common adoption of this interoperability platform.”
Catuity, Inc. is a leading provider of application software that allows merchants, transaction processors and card issuers to establish and administer customer loyalty programs integrated to the payment system at the point of sale. The patented Catuity system can be deployed using a mag stripe, smart card, memory card, RFID or contactless token. Catuity’s smart card applet has been included on millions of chip-based credit cards. Catuity’s loyalty software can be used by a broad range of sellers of goods and services, particularly those who sell through both store locations and over the Internet. In addition to its innovative software products, Catuity also provides marketing expertise and service to its clients, so that with Catuity’s loyalty solution merchants can offer their customers valuable benefits, thereby attracting and retaining customers as well as encouraging increased purchases. More information on Catuity is available at its website: http://www.catuity.com.
Welcome Real-time (http://www.welcome-rt.com) provides smart card software that enhances payment transactions with real-time point of sale features such as welcome gifts, surprise bonuses, personal reminders, targeted samples, loyalty points, coupons, punch cards, vouchers, tickets, cash back and more, all in a single convenient payment process. The company’s clients include financial institutions, retailers, associations and other card issuers who rely on Welcome’s software to get the most out of their smart card investment. With millions of smart cards and thousands of merchants operating the company’s software across the world, Welcome has proven repeatedly that its easy-to-deploy solutions generate higher sales for its clients while increasing their customers’ satisfaction and loyalty. In conjunction with the provisions of the “Safe Harbor” section of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, this release may contain forward-looking statements pertaining to future anticipated projected plans, performance and developments, as well as other statements relating to future operations. All such forward-looking statements are necessarily only estimates of future results and there can be no assurance that actual results will not materially differ from expectations. Further information on potential factors that could affect Catuity, Inc. is included in the Company’s Form 10-K, which is filed with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.
Michael Howe, 313/567-4348
Martin E. Janis & Co., Inc.
Bev Jedynak, 312/943-1100 Ext. 12
Aneace Haddad, +33 (0)4 4297 5897
Marjorie Banes, +33 (0)4 4297 5862
Montner & Associates
Debra Montner, 203/226-9290