Jingle Networks, the operator of the directory assistance service 1-800-FREE411 was granted U.S. Patent 7,212,615 for criteria-based marketing for telephone directory assistance. USA Today is reporting Jingle Networks will use the patent to collect licensing fees from competing ad-supported directory assistance services using the technology.
Competitors include Microsoft, which recently acquired Tellme, and Google's beta of Voice Local Search. It is unclear whether either service or others on the market infringe on the patent.
Recent advertiser additions within the 1-800-FREE411 network include Avis; Budget; Citibank, Sonic Drive-In; Yahoo Mobile.
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