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
    AnonCow, 2 Oct 2009 @ 3:42pm

    This is really a patent on receiving payment for a service before delivery of the service. I think the prior art on that would be the world's first hooker.

    "Price" can be any limited resource (money, time), so making me watch a commercial (paying with time) in order to gain access to content is really just a different form of payment. It is no different than charging a price in USD to watch the content.

    How this passed even a cursory review at the USPTO is unfathomable.

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