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.

Filed Under: advertising, online video
Companies: google, videoegg, youtube


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2007 @ 6:32am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    kap, 23 Aug 2007 @ 6:40am

    Break.com has been doing this ad overlay for a while too.

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

  • identicon
    TheDock22, 23 Aug 2007 @ 7:05am

    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.

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  • identicon
    BillGod, 23 Aug 2007 @ 7:15am

    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.

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    • identicon
      Alex, 24 Aug 2007 @ 6:47am

      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...

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

  • identicon
    Zoltan Gyenge, 23 Aug 2007 @ 7:46am

    re:TheDock22

    Source code is NOT patentable. It is protected by copyright.

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

    • identicon
      TheDock22, 23 Aug 2007 @ 1:10pm

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Piper, 23 Aug 2007 @ 10:15am

    Prior Art

    Given that VideoEgg is attempting to garner a patent on technology that will be perceived as intuitively replicable by the layman (in this case, Google), they may be hard pressed to prove was both proprietary and not prior art.

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

  • identicon
    jeremy liew, 23 Aug 2007 @ 10:46am

    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-c ompetitors/

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

  • identicon
    Vincent Clement, 23 Aug 2007 @ 12:59pm

    Maybe they should all sue each other, leaving only the lawyers to make any money.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2007 @ 5:19pm

    I'd like to know if there is any technology available that will let me block the ads altogether.

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


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