by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 28th 2009 12:15pm
With the rise of the DVR and the death of the captive audience, it's no surprise that product placement has become more and more popular. But would you believe that ad agencies are trying to patent forms of product placement? Apparently, big ad firm WPP is being sued by a company for violating its patent in an ad campaign run for Microsoft's Bing search engine. The patent in question (6,859,936) is for "a method and system for producing program-integrated commercials." Basically, the idea is to use the actors and sets from a TV show to film a regular commercial spot, and then run that during the show itself. Yes, someone got a patent on that. Why? Who the hell knows. This is a perfect example, by the way, of how just because something's "new" it doesn't mean it's not obvious. It's just that it's so obvious most people wouldn't even bother thinking about patenting it.
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