Patent Troll Claims That Showing A Video With A Static Ad Next To It Infringes

from the really-now? dept

Jeff Roberts has the story of how a patent troll named Mobile Transformation LLC has sued Buzzfeed for patent infringement, claiming that its patent (6,351,736) covers the fact that Buzzfeed has both an embedded video and a static ad on certain pages. From the lawsuit:
More specifically, and by way of non-limiting example, the www.buzzfeed.com website uses an embedded flash player to present a first data type of a video file of "Boris v Romney" along with the presentation of advertising data of a second type that includes a static image advertisement for "Sour Patch Kids," for example.

For purposes of Claim 64, when a web browser of a client device displays the Defendant Website, the web server that serves the Defendant Website downloads both the video file (first data type) and the static image advertisement (second data type). The web server that serves the Defendant Website then executes executable code created by Defendant’s content authors/website administrators. The executable code includes both the first and second commands for the presentation of the first and second data types, respectively. The executable code couples the presentation of the first and second data types. That is, because the first and second data types are linked together via executable code, the presentation of the first data type causes the presentation of the second data type, automatically. The web server that serves the Defendant Website presents the first data type to the web browser of the client device. Namely, video file of "Boris v Romney" is presented along with the static image advertisement for "Sour Patch Kids." Thus, the presentation of the video file causes the presentation of the static image advertisement, though not necessarily always in that order.
Assuming that Buzzfeed hasn't changed its post, the description in the lawsuit appears to be in error. It claims that the web server downloads both the video and the advertisement. But, the video is an embed from YouTube and the advertising on the page is served from DoubleClick. In other words, the "Defendant Website" downloads neither of the items in question, contrary to the lawsuit's claims.

But, more to the point, the claims in the lawsuit seem ridiculous even if both were served by Buzzfeed. Having a static ad appear next to a video is not what this patent was intended to cover. Even the patent itself describes a system of playing a video advertisement next to a music file -- a completely different situation and purpose. Besides, while embedding videos certainly came out well after this patent came along, the idea of ads running next to videos is hardly new or innovative. The problem here seems to be that the patent examiners, Eric W. Stamber and Mussie Tesfamariam, let a ridiculously broad claim through that the company is now using to file lawsuits over something crazy obvious (having both videos and ads on the same page) that it contributed nothing to.

Buzzfeed is hardly the only lawsuit that Mobile Technologies LLC has filed either. The company has been a busy little bee. The sites it's sued include Wetpaint, Publishers Clearing House, Glam Media, Evolve, BabyCenter, Hollywood.com, DailyMotion, ProjectPlaylist, Justin TV and Radar Online, among many others. Oddly, I see that one of the inventors listed on the patent is Lior Cohen, which is the name of Warner Music's CEO. I'm going to assume that this is not the same Lior Cohen, however. The patent was originally held by Adware LI Inc., and was then assigned to Everad, who later assigned it to EIP Company LLC. There isn't an official assignment to Mobile Technologies LLC in the USPTO database, but that doesn't mean anything. It could not yet be recorded or there may be shell companies involved or a licensing deal or who knows what. Either way, it's yet another example of a mysterious patent holder with a broad patent using it against something completely different than what the patent is supposed to be about, and going after a ton of companies in the process.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Jeff (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 6:30am

    Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu

    Stop the planet - I want to get off... this is insane!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:16am

    I have a question.

    So, how come that how content is displayed on TV hasn't had this same type of patent trolling?

    No, seriously. If I turn on an ABC Station, sometimes they have adverts that display on a different location on the page than, say, the ball game I was watching.

    How come these types of patent trolling lawsuits haven't been going on all these years, and if viewing content in a browser isn't any different than sitting on the couch watching TV, THEN HOW COME THERE ARE ANY PATENT SUITS AT ALL?

    /rant

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:20am

    It looks like their claim includes copyright violation since it says Buzzfeed copied code that the patent creators wrote. And a few seconds looking at the page source could disprove that easily, as well as whether or not one piece of content causes the other piece of content to load.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Re: I have a question.

    because - internet

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Mr. Applegate, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Re: Fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu

    I believe your last chance to get further away than earth orbit was November 26, 2011, when the Mars Rover started it's voyage to the moon.

    The insanity has been going on for years. Have you been away?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:44am

    wait....

    they've got the patent on the Abstract Data Type?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    System and method for displaying advertisements with played data

    What an absolutely brilliant idea, so much so that it has never been seen in the universe until the publication of this particular patent, which discloses the excruciatingly complex details which no one else would have ever come up with otherwise. And therefore the world thanks you.

    Today we salute you Mister Displaying Advertisements With Played Data Inventor. You've given us the real patenters dream, a web page, a video and an advertisement. Throwing caution to the wind, you pushed prior art aside. If there's a patent, you'll litigate - if there's a copyright, you'll demand compensation. And if filed in East Texas, then everything is going to be OK. Mister Displaying Advertisements With Played Data Inventor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Tom Anderson, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 8:02am

    If you read the patent citations, the patenter already acknowledged that there were a number of previous patents, e.g. by Sun, that cover advertisements on web pages. The novel thing in the patent was that the act of playing the audio/video (clicking play) would trigger an advertisement. However, as far as I can tell, on the Buzzfeed site, it's just an ad that is loaded when the page is loaded. There's no trigger. Where is the infringement?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    Re:

    Hello Sir,

    I am writing to inform you that you have infringed on Budweiser's copyrights, patents and, trademarks to use the term "we salute you mr [insert comical reference]". Our lawyers will be by later today to take your first born son.

    Good day,
    The King of Beers

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    dr evil, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 8:11am

    its time

    to a) class action lawsuit against the Patent Office for allowing this tripe
    b) allowing all sued companies to join together to fight the troll(s)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    el_segfaulto (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    button.click(function(){advertisement.show()});

    Hope I don't get sued!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    PlagueSD (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    Re: its time

    You forgot...

    c) Send all patent trolls to mars.

    I'm sure one of them has a patent for Martian life.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Re:

    I called dibs on the

    tag. I'm gonna get sooo rich suing people for using it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    paragraph*

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re:

    if (IsVideo == true) {ShowAdd();}

    You can seriously patent that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Pinstar, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Troll the Trolls

    Perhaps I should try and copyright "The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide during litigation of a copyright or patent legal case" as a performance piece.

    I'd make a fortune suing trolls for breathing during court cases, with each individual breath being a separate infringement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Judging by patents that have been granted, you can patent literally anything, no matter how much prior art there is or how obvious it is, so long as you're doing it on the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    if (Something == true) then {DoSomethingOnTheInternet();}

    I'm gonna patent this one then!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Marvin The Martian, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: its time

    "Send all patent trolls to mars"

    Not if I find my Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator you wont !!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    AdamBv1 (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: its time

    But I want to go to Mars some day, don't ruin it before I can get there.

    Maybe we can send them to Venus instead?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: its time

    Gonna catch me a pirate, and im gonna cook him right here in this pot. This pot right here. Uh huh uh huh, thats just what i'm gonna do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: its time

    "Send all patent trolls to mars."

    Do we really need to send our trash to another planet? Just point the rocket at the sun.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    AndyD273 (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re: Troll the Trolls

    Try:
    1. A system and a method for pumping air by means of moving a diaphragm.

    2. A system and a method for chemically bonding oxygen to iron as a means of oxygen transportation within biological systems.

    3. A system and a method for chemically releasing oxygen from a bound state to be used as an oxygen source in biological systems.

    4. A system and a method for chemically breaking down organic matter into base elements and waste material.


    The nice thing about number 4, is that it also covers decomposing, so that they will continue to infringe until they become dust.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Jeff (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: its time

    But then we'd just speed up the enevitable implosion of our star...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    any "executable code" for control of the "presentation," should such a thing even be able to be said to exist, would certainly have to be executed on the client's computer, not the "web server that serves the Defendant Website"

    plus, the idea that "presentation of the first data type causes the presentation of the second data type" is completely false... images function fine without plugins/Flash/javascript...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Some Other AC (profile), Aug 8th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: its time

    So, go for the next option...send them in a Rocket on a trajectory for an empty spot, key a preset detonate sequence, watch the fireworks...on the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2012 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: its time

    No, god please no, they might get too close to Curiosity and damage it. or find a way to turn Opportunity off after its been going for so long.

    After all, they find a way to muck with perfectly good ideas. I wouldn't put it past them to ruin anything we have put on mars.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    staff, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    more dissembling by Masnick

    Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-
    https://www.insightcommunity.com/cases.php?n=10&pg=1

    They sell blog filler and "insights" to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world’s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don’t have any.

    “Patent troll”

    Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay or stop”. This is just dissembling by large infringers and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Vic Kley, Aug 10th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Ho Hum and Dum Dee Dumbo

    This quality and strength of this Patent will be tested in Court.

    If the company sued needs help to defend or reference art then perhaps Masnik can with the proper series of articles or other efforts LEND A HAND.

    If on the other hand this article is somehow meant to condemn all patents, inventors, or efforts by inventors through sales to intermediate parties to license their inventions by its example then NO SALE take your snake oil back to your big company sponsors who would like nothing more then to have the playing field tipped completely in their favor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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