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Mvive trademarks the moupon

Mvive hopes to join the ranks of companies such as Cellfire that are cashing in on marketers’ curiosity with mobile coupons. Though the company currently has no customers, David Skidmore, spokesman for Mvive, said that the Canadian market is keen on the idea of mobile couponing.

“They’ve done beta tests,” he said. “In one of the groups there were 55,000 mobile phone users and about 800 retailers. It was a huge success.”

Mobile coupons were on the lips of key players in the mobile industry in 2007. San Jose, CA-based Cellfire broke ground with its nationwide mobile coupon and discount offer service providing geo-targeted discount alerts.

Cellfire has enterprise customers in EMI Music, Subway, Hollywood Video and others.

Ahead of the pack, Japanese carrier NTT DoComo began offering mobile coupons in 2006 in partnership with national broadcaster Nippon Television.

For consumers, the mobile coupon concept involves a barcode that appears on the screen of a mobile device that can be scanned in order to redeem a certain discount on products or services.

According to the company, brands benefit from moupons because it enables quick progression from coupon creation to delivery. Since there is no paper involved, it may also cut costs for companies. Also, consumers only receive marketing messages from brands they have opted in to.

But the Toronto-based Mvive still has hurdles ahead.

“Right now they’re transposing from a Microsoft platform to a Linux open source platform,” Mr. Skidmore said. “Visibility is a huge challenge too, but we don’t think it’s a huge challenge over time.”