More Patent Stockpiling — This Time In Search

from the defensive-patenting dept

Here’s a bit more evidence about how patents are becoming the “nuclear stockpiling” of the software industry. Sensis, Telstra’s online directory business that recently launched their own “local search” in Australia, is filing a bunch of global patents around the bidding system they use for selling ads on their local search engine. Sensis, of course, is competing with Google and Overture for local ad sales in Australia. Overture and Google had been in a big battle (until last month) over the patents Overture owns concerning a bidding system for advertising. Sensis claims their patents are different because users don’t just bid on price, but also geography, as if that concept never (not once) occurred to either Google or Overture, despite all of their efforts in local search. What’s really happening, of course, is that Telstra/Sensis realizes they need to get some patents of their own for defensive purposes against Overture’s patents to give them some leverage when Overture’s lawyers come knocking (if they haven’t already). The end result only means that the patent lawyers get a lot more money, but no real innovation is produced.

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