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PPC Patent Bid War On The Horizon

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According to a couple of sources, there are some very early patents (filed in 1996 and awarded three years later) on pay-per-click advertising that could spark a bidding war. The patents cover systems and methods for online advertising rather than the technology for it, and have been dormant for years after the filing company went under.

Word comes from ThePatentProspector, that the patents nos. 5,933,811, which is expired, and its continuation, 6,385,592, which is not expired, were filed by now-defunct company Big Media. The company’s creditors are trying to force the sale of the patents in order to recoup their losses.

The patent covers “A System and Method for Delivering Personalized Advertising Over Interactive Systems,” which translates in 2006 to the very systems Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask, you name it, base their entire business models on.

From Valleywag:

These patents are listed as prior art by over 200 other patents issued to a who’s who of the Fortune 500. Companies like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, General Electric, and many, many others. All of them are potential targets.


Prepare for a bidding war, and then massive litigation. The outcome of this particular situation will have a huge impact on the online advertising industry, especially if one of the search engines does or doesn’t get its hands on it. If Google gets it, then it can decide if it wants to sue for licensing from Microsoft and the rest. If an entity outside the industry gets it, the outcome could be worse for those in it.

“Google, meet Prince Alwaleed, new owner of the Big Media patents. He’d like Larry and Sergey to wax his private jet,” says David Utter.

Brace yourself. This is going to get hairy.

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PPC Patent Bid War On The Horizon
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