Will Google Face Patent Battle Over YouTube's New Ad Format?

from the pssst,-Google,-buy-us...-sincerely,-VideoEgg dept

Google and YouTube got a ton of press coverage for releasing their new video ad overlay program on Tuesday evening. However, despite some amount of fawning from some tech publications, many people noted that the ads were remarkably similar to the format the startup VideoEgg launched nearly a year ago. The folks over at VideoEgg are trying to figure out what to do in response — which apparently includes potentially filing a patent lawsuit against Google. VideoEgg has apparently applied for patents on just such an advertising system — though the patents haven’t been granted yet, so there’s not much VideoEgg can do on that front for the time being. Of course, you could argue that what they’re doing isn’t all that different than ads that have been on TV for years… but we’ll let the patent office sort that out. So far, however, VideoEgg seems to have figured out the best strategy: using this to get much more attention for itself. It’s been making sure that people know it had the idea first, and (as of right now) changed its website to say in HUGE letters “Welcome, YouTube. Seriously.” Then it notes that it’s nice to see the rest of the market catch up. Hopefully this won’t descend into a patent battle — as VideoEgg is right. It is nice to see the rest of the market catch up, and hopefully this will drive many of the players in the market (including VideoEgg) to improve upon the offering even further. That’s what competition is all about. Update: In the meantime, it looks like plenty of others are out there claiming that they came up with the idea first, once again showing how many different “inventions” are really just the next obvious step, as so many different parties come up with the same thing at once. Hopefully, that’s evidence enough to deny a patent.

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Companies: google, videoegg, youtube

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Comments on “Will Google Face Patent Battle Over YouTube's New Ad Format?”

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12 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It allowed to proceed, I think this might be a legitimate use of the patent system. If such a method of overlaying ads on top of streaming videos within a web browser (which, IMO, is a fairly original idea, and not so obvious) is clearly documented in the patents that VideoEgg has applied for, then Google needs to properly license the technology from them.

TheDock22 says:

I dunno

This seems like one of those technologies that will just be inhibited by the patent system. It makes sense and is logical progression in the ad world. We as tax payers are wasting enough money as is paying the judges for these frivolous lawsuits.

I don’t think ideas should be patentable. The source code, sure (but other companies could come up with their own source code which wouldn’t infringe); and an actual product, of course; it seems silly though that I could go down to the patent office and say “Beaming commercials directly into somebody’s head using advance radio technology” might be patentable. Assuming, of course, it isn’t patented already.

BillGod says:

VideoEgg will be out of business

Hears whats gonna happen since
1. there is no patent yet
2. the patent would be ridiculous and wont be patented anyway

google will run the same kind of add (not like it took a genius to figure out that add style anyway) VideoEgg will try and sue but since they don’t have a patent they will loose. If it even makes it that far. I am sure they don’t have the kind of $$ to fight Google in court.

Alex says:

Re: VideoEgg will be out of business

1)VideoEgg is not a destination site, their business model revolves around social networks.

2)Their CMO has made it clear that they have no intent to sue over this.

3)By simply placing a satirical ad on their homepage they have garnered a mention in every story on this topic and it cost them next to nothing…

TheDock22 says:

Re: re:TheDock22

Source code is NOT patentable. It is protected by copyright

Ah good, then patents shouldn’t be given for software. I think you should be able to protect your code one way or the other, but definitely not twice. It’s like the people who try and get story lines patented. That’s why they get a copyright for their novel.

jeremy liew (user link) says:

Youtube's adoption of the format creates a standar

It would be odd for VideoEgg (or anyone else) to sue over a patent because it’s great news for everyone selling online video overlay ads that Youtube/Google has embraced the format. They are the only players who have the scale and the relationships to turn it into a standard, which is good for everyone who sells the unit. More at the Lightspeed blog at http://lsvp.wordpress.com/2007/08/23/youtubes-entry-into-online-video-overlay-will-be-good-for-its-competitors/

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