by Mike Masnick

Location Based Advertising Patents Up For Auction

from the think-anyone-might-want-those? dept

Xybernaut, the wearable computing firm that has been around for ages, but never got around to selling many products... and eventually faced serious problems (and then bankruptcy) after it came out that its execs were using company funds for personal expenses, has apparently decided its latest best bet to survive is to sell off some of its patent portfolio. In the past, we'd already noted that some of Xybernaut's patents not only seemed way too broad and obvious but had some fairly well-known prior art: such as the Star Trek communicator device. The latest patents that they're selling off focus on location based advertising, which they may have timed right for an auction. There's obviously been a lot of attention in that space lately, with Google's recent plans to offer location-based ad-supported WiFi. However, when you look at the actual patents involved, they again seem extremely broad and obvious. There were plenty of people talking about the concept of location based advertising when this particular patent was filed. For a while, you couldn't go to a single wireless trade show without hearing people predict that the day was coming when you'd walk by a McDonald's and receive a McDonald's coupon on your phone (as bad an idea as that is...). The patent in question doesn't really describe anything new or innovative with regards to that. It just describes that basic concept -- which was widely discussed at the time. And, now, someone's going to spend millions on it -- and probably use it to prevent others from actually implementing it (or at least getting others to pay up for implementing this concept that everyone already understood). How does this encourage innovation again?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    pet supply plus kittens holland michigan, 28 Apr 2006 @ 2:34am

    Offers a large selection of items such as crates,

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

  • identicon
    mthorn, 28 Apr 2006 @ 2:52am

    Patents are only good for two things now-adays:

    1. Cashing in on other peoples inovation
    2. Defending your inovation from people cashing in patents

    Sadly, Google or some other entity will have to buy the patent just to protect from #1.

    "Defending your inovation from being copied" should be the only reason on that list, but lately it is nowhere to be found.

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

  • identicon
    Republican Gun, 28 Apr 2006 @ 4:55am


    You can pay personal bills with company money. You need to categorize it as a distribution though.

    This whole patent, copyright, and other IP crap is making me look forward to anarchy.

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

  • identicon
    LBS Dave, 28 Apr 2006 @ 6:09am

    LBS Not New

    I ponder how the patent could hold up. LBS has been around for a long time. Its roots are in triangulation, which has been used by the military since WWI.

    Blue tooth offers a form of Location Based Advertising as part of its grand plan. This was proposed quite some time ago.

    The people from Lo-Jack or their parent company have patented LBS (read GPS) based services using celular towers for more than 12 years now.

    Rockwell Automation and a small bevy of other automation companies have patents sewn up in the LBS arena as well.

    Whoever buys the Xybernaut patent will be up for a "Battle Royal" with some other major players in the market. The battle will be over the patent and who actually came up with it first.

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

  • identicon
    Wizard Prang, 28 Apr 2006 @ 6:54am

    Once again, the problem is...

    ...that the USPTO does not seem able to do its job.

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

  • identicon
    Rick, 28 Apr 2006 @ 12:16pm

    The only innovation I see in patents anymore is more ways to extort money for obvious ideas and/or actions. There is nothing material, no 'invention' and there are no new ideas.

    hmmm, sounds like congress...

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer
Anonymous number for texting and calling from Hushed. $25 lifetime membership, use code TECHDIRT25
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.