That Whole Watch An Ad To Get Content Thing? Patented... And The Patent Holder Has Been Suing

from the watch-out dept

So we were just talking about some new company called Free All Music, which has a plan to let people download free mp3s if they agree to watch a video ad first. I have my doubts about how well it would work... but apparently the company may also need to watch out for another issue: a bogus patent. You see, there's some company called Ultramercial, who not only holds a US patent 7,346,545 on the concept of distributing content where the user can get it for free after watching an ad, but Ultramercial recently went legal. Just a few days ago, it sued Hulu, YouTube and WildTangent for infringement over that very patent. Seriously, USPTO? A patent on watching an ad before getting free content? This is why patent examiners get such a bad rap.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2009 @ 1:30pm

    I tried the same service at least five years ago through Virgin Mobile. You could watch commercials, afterward answering specific questions, so you actually had to watch the ads, and then your Virgin Mobile prepaid cell phone would be credited with free minutes. I only did it a couple of times before realizing that it wasn't a good return on investment, considering what I made per hour at my job. It was better to buy prepaid minutes than work for them for free.

    I guess Virgin Mobil will be the next ones in line to be sued for patent infringement.

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