Google Faces Patent Extortion From Russia

from the trying-to-cash-in dept

Google has become a big target for patent lawsuits over the years, as does just about any successful company. Most of the lawsuits seem like more of an attempt to shakedown a successful company, rather than any legitimate complaint, and the latest is no exception. Valleywag points us to the news that a Russian company named Era Vodoleya claims that it invented and patented "contextual advertising" and that Google owes the company $3 billion. It may be a translation issue, but the article falsely claims that Google implemented its contextual ad program in 1999, when it actually came about much later. Also, what's odd, is that no actual lawsuit has been filed. Instead, the company is going public with threats to file a lawsuit and asking Google to settle up. It says it will wait until Spring to file the actual lawsuit.

The concept of contextual advertising was hardly a new idea. In fact, from the early days of web advertising, it was always a target. Plenty of other companies tried to do it, but what made Google so successful was that it actually implemented the process in a way that worked. It was about putting it into practice, not the grand scheme that ended up in a patent somewhere. This seems like nothing more than a company trying to shakedown Google.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: contextual advertising, patents, russia
Companies: era vodoleya, google


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Brad Hue, 7 Nov 2008 @ 11:44am

    Not unusual not to sue initially

    It's quite common to notify potential defendant of lawsuit intention, even actual complaint, before suit is filed in court.

    Very commom, particuarly in patent litigation.

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

  • identicon
    Ima Fish, 7 Nov 2008 @ 11:49am

    "It was about putting it into practice, not the grand scheme that ended up in a patent somewhere."

    I'm reminded of an episode of the Twilight Zone where a guy thought that if he could go back in time prior to the industrial revolution, with ideas about television, radio, and telephones, he could become rich.

    Of course he was sent back in time, and he had the grand ideas for the products, but he had absolutely no way of actually implementing them. So he ended up poor.

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

    • identicon
      Evil Mike, 7 Nov 2008 @ 12:04pm

      Re:

      Now that's a fellow who lacks ingenuity.

      Having traveled back in time, he knows which products (in general) are going to be successful and which are not. Armed with such information, it should be easy enough to buy stock in the right companies; until he's worth a few million in stock; then he can make things happen.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2008 @ 12:12pm

    What does this have to do with Obama? ;>)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2008 @ 12:42pm

      Re:

      Nothing to do with Obama just this is Al Gore trying to sue google in Russia under an assumed name. Invented all of the internet and global warming.

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

      • icon
        Killer_Tofu (profile), 7 Nov 2008 @ 1:01pm

        Re: Re:

        Wow, you still haven't moved on from the out of context statement? Don't you have anything new to harass the guy about? I am sure that it is old enough he probably doesn't care about it anymore.

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

      • icon
        Crabby (profile), 10 Nov 2008 @ 1:04pm

        Re: hot air

        Well, Al Gore is full of hot air... no wonder the planet is heating up. Hey, if he invented the internet, does that mean he invented internet porn, too? Bad Al! Baaad!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2008 @ 12:25pm

    How will this threat play out in light of the Bilsky ruling ?

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

    • identicon
      Lonnie E. Holder, 7 Nov 2008 @ 1:28pm

      Re: Bilski

      Anonymous:

      Interesting question. If we actually had a copy of a patent from Era Vodoleya, we might be able to make a determination.

      I read Google's claims for their patent in this area and I think their claims are ripe for elimination if they were re-examined in view of Bilski.

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

  • icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 7 Nov 2008 @ 1:04pm

    Prior Art?

    I have a pretty good feeling that could be verified with little research that there is prior art in the form of contextual ads from the very early on days of the printing press.

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

  • identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, 7 Nov 2008 @ 1:25pm

    Maybe it was a grand scheme in a patent somewhere...

    It was about putting it into practice, not the grand scheme that ended up in a patent somewhere. This seems like nothing more than a company trying to shakedown Google.

    Actually, Google patented a related invention in U.S. patent 7,136,875. However, this patent was filed 09/24/2002, much later than Google was supposedly using the original technology, so perhaps this later patent and the seven patent applications pending that depend from this patent are for a different technology.

    The other puzzling item is that various reports either claim copyright infringement or patent infringement.

    Era Vodoleya has no US or EPO patents, so a claim of $3 billion seems unlikely, since Era Vodoleya would be limited to revenue from countries where it holds patents, if it even does hold patents. If Russian law is similar to U.S. patent law, Era Vodoleya would get nothing unless the servers doing the contextual advertising are located within Russia.

    On the other hand, if Era Vodoleya can prove copyright infringement, which seems initially unlikely, then they might have a case.

    All this seems like a ploy to get some money from Google or to get Google to buy the company. Google's attorneys probably had little to do this week anyway, so having to think a little will be good for them.

    Stay tuned.

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

    • identicon
      Boris, 9 Nov 2008 @ 10:12am

      Re: Maybe it was a grand scheme in a patent somewhere...

      http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=EA&NR=4528&KC=&FT=E

      1. The information system including at least one user’s device connected via a connection unit to a memory device for storing information, characterized by including into said system a device far generating a set of requested information and advertising information, connected to the memory device for storing information and to the connection unit, and comprising an entry for inputting the advertising information.

      и пояснения к этому пункту

      Additionally an advertising information can be input by the user from the keyboard using an input unit (not shown on the figure). If the user has a possibility to choose the advertising he is interested in, the system can work in a mode of a dialog: the user forms a requested information; the information is to be found in mem 4; the message is transmitted through the device 4 informing that the requested information is available, a list of advertising services is then transmitted; the user chooses the advertising service he is interested in, sends the answer to the network and receives a set of requested information and the type of advertising information according to the user’s choice corresponding to the mode of providing information.

      in 1999 Google dnot have Bisines Plan.
      http://g-o-o-g-l-e.ru/blog/
      and Bill Gross dnot have patent

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

  • identicon
    Crazy Billy JoBob, 7 Nov 2008 @ 2:43pm

    Sarah can see Russia, why not...

    Let's send Sarah Palin over to negotiate it.

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

  • identicon
    angry dude, 7 Nov 2008 @ 8:00pm

    huy naley

    piss on Mikey's shitty blog
    and this is called "journalism" nowadays...

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

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