Jingle Networks, operator of the free directory assistance service that has been emulated by AT&T, Google and others, was awarded a U.S. Patent “for providing telephone directory assistance service in which a telephone user calls to the system and the system will, based on the requested number or type of service, hear a recorded advertisement.” The patent was issued in May and is being announced by the Company today.
If the patent is enforceable, and Jingle has the stomach to try, it will be a significant hurdle for their competitors. The company has raised significant capital (over $60 million), but that is nothing compared to the resources of Google and AT&T. If those companies are serious about this business, it could get ugly in the courtroom.
When we last heard from the company, they claimed to be receiving 17 million monthly calls and had grabbed over 6% of the U.S. market for directory assistance calls.