Company Claims Patent On Pop-Up Ads, Sues Porn & Travel Companies

from the well,-if-it-gets-rid-of-pop-ups... dept

I have to admit that I'm still a bit surprised that pop-up/pop-under advertisements still exist. The concept is so annoying and so anti-consumer that pretty much all browsers figured out ways to build in pop-up blockers many, many years ago. Every so often one gets through (almost always advertising Netflix, by the way), and I get annoyed and try to remember never to visit that site again. However, Paul Keating alerts us to the news that a company called "ExitExchange" now claims to hold a patent on pop-up ads, and has sued seven porn sites and two travel companies for using them without a license. The patent in question is US Patent 7,353,229 for a "post-session internet advertising system." It was only granted in 2008, but its priority date goes back to May of 2000. I tried to look up a history of pop-up ads, but was unable to find any definitive source on when the first pop-up ad was used. Still, just because it wasn't done back then doesn't mean the patent is valid -- perhaps people were just smart enough not to do something that annoyed the hell out of everyone. The company has sued Travelocity and Kayak along with a variety of porn sites.

Of course, this is hardly the only company claiming a patent on pop-ups. Years ago, there were multiple stories of others claiming patents on pop-ups and suing over those patents -- and it appears that most of those patents were filed long before the patent above. And, if you were hoping that maybe something good would come out of patents on pop-up ads, that they might be forced to go away, this history of patents and lawsuits over pop-ups suggests that it hasn't helped very much in stopping them.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2013 @ 2:38pm

    Simpsons Did It!

    The Simpson episode "Das Bus" Feb 1998 featured popups in the show. If they were already that prominent and annoying I would have to assume they had to have been a part of life before 1998.
    I remember one annoying night (and I'm pretty sure it was '95) that a site I visited generated a popunder. Then that popunder spawned another...in short order I had 3000+ windows and my Win95 promptly died with a BSOD.

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