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HopStop.com earns core navigation patent – vows to play nice, develop WP7 app

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Local navigation and GPS services are essential to many people’s daily lives. In the city, the best way to get around is subway or bus transit, and that’s where HopStop comes in. Type in the address or intersection of where you want to go and HopStop will get you there. We’re big fans of it here in NYC, and it looks like the patent office is too. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has awarded HopStop a core patent for its “door-to-door mass transit and walking directions.”

U.S. Patent No. 7,957,871, “Methods and Apparatuses for Navigation in Urban Environments,” discloses the innovative technology and methodology used in HopStop’s dynamic transit routing engine that combines disparate transit data, street-level mapping data and user-generated input to provide optimal multi-modal directions and travel options for web and mobile users.  The patent confirms HopStop’s position as an innovator in pedestrian navigation and transit routing, and reinforces the company’s position as an industry leader in location-based services.

With all of the litigation surrounding patents these days, we wondered if HopStop planned to “protect” its patents by firing lawsuits at all of its competitors. With such a core patent, the company could potentially sue a number of locations services, including Google. Not the HopStop way, CEO Joe Meyer told us. HopStop is not the kind of company that uses lawsuits to get ahead. Instead, he said, it’s good to have a patent as defense against patent lawsuits, but plans to continue innovating and opening channels of feedback with customers, which completely guide the company’s decisions. And actions speak louder than words. Due to user requests, HopStop is adding a BlackBerry app in the next two weeks, its Windows Phone 7 app will be out by year-end, and a HTML5 web app is on the way soon.

“This patent further accelerates HopStop’s leadership role in the industry, and allows us to take greater advantage of the huge market opportunity presented by local search and mobile services,” said Meyer in the press release.

The HopStop app is currently in the Top 10 in navigation section of the Apple App Store, Top 25 in the Android Market, and Top 10 in the Amazon Appstore. And if the app doesn’t do it for people, they often use the the company’s mobile website, which gets as much traffic as all of the apps combined. On the Web, HopStop serves around 5 million unique visitors a month. The site claims that more than 72 percent of visitors return to the site within 24 hours and 37 percent of its users come back 25 or more times a month.

Do you use HopStop? If not, what are your favorite navigation services?

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