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Old 01-25-2002, 09:24 PM   #1
Lawrence1
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Default Overture Sued by FindWhat.com in Patent Dispute

From Digital Coast Daily

by Ben Fritz

Pay-per-click (PPC) search leader Overture Services (Nasdaq: OVER) has found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit following a failed attempt to license two patents to its biggest competitors, FindWhat.com (Nasdaq: FWHT).

Last summer, Pasadena-based Overture filed two patents related to its business. One covers advertisers using the Internet to influence their position on a PPC search engine by adjusting their bid, while the other is for the very concept of ranking search listings according to monetary bids by advertisers.

New York-headquartered FindWhat is disputing the previous patent, saying Overture was using the process commercially for more than a year before it was filed on May 28, 1999, which is generally the time limit a company has to file a patent. According to Overture materials, the company launched its site in June of 1998, although it was being tested before that.

Phillip Thune, FindWhat's COO and CFO, told DCD that when his firm was approached by Overture about patent infringement, they initially tried to resolve the dispute, but his company found Overture's financial and structural demands untenable.

"We did some homework and said that while we don't think it's enforceable, we'd be happy to have a conversation," he explained. "But we couldn't get anywhere close and as a result felt we had no choice but to challenge them in court."

An Overture representative offered only a brief comment in response to the complaint, saying, "We do have two very strong patents which we feel we can vigorously defend and we're still reviewing the assertions."

The process described by the disputed patent is one used by many PPC search providers, not just Overture and FindWhat. While an Overture representative declined to comment on whether his firm was asking other companies besides FindWhat, its biggest competitor, to license the patent, an executive at smaller PPC seach provider told DCD he had not yet been approached.
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Old 01-25-2002, 10:15 PM   #2
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Let me get this right, there's a Patent on being able for an advertiser to bid on a search term for the position? So would that mean that sites like Ah-Ha.com, Kanoodle.com, etc... are the same as FindWhat.com? If its what I think it is then people can Patent basically anything, then ask for money etc... That shows how greedy companies are. Greedy, greedy, greedy!

I was also planning to spend around $1,000 in advertising from Overture and other PPC engines, guess I can take Overture of my list. As an advertiser I personally thing those kind of things are wrong.

Last edited by Uneek; 01-25-2002 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 01-25-2002, 10:27 PM   #3
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I tink that some one has triad to lisnce the link "Click"
and there is the company that has the term freebe as a registerd tradmark

You need more ?
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Old 01-25-2002, 10:35 PM   #4
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Did you know that a company has a trademark over the emoticon ":-(" ?
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Old 01-25-2002, 10:37 PM   #5
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What a shame.... ":-("
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Old 01-25-2002, 11:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lawrence1
Did you know that a company has a trademark over the emoticon ":-(" ?
Despair.com.

The funny thing there is that in the company filed for the trademark as a joke to indicate how lax the US Patent and Trademark Office as become of late. The fact that they were successfully awarded a parody trademark says a lot about the credibility of the office.

Still, if Amazon.com can enforce one-click checkouts, it would seem that Overture stands a reasonable chance of defending is patent in court.

Guess we'll have to stay tuned to this one...
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Old 01-26-2002, 12:10 AM   #7
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Here's another joke:

http://www.despair.com/demotivators/frownonthis.html


This, however, is not a joke:

http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?r...entry=75502288

Last edited by Lawrence1; 01-26-2002 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 01-26-2002, 08:16 AM   #8
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:-(
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Old 01-26-2002, 11:07 AM   #9
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Default Who wants to TM Pay-Per-Click

What a shame these are just frivolous suits to make a ton of money. Ridiculous.
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Old 01-26-2002, 01:44 PM   #10
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I guess I'll put my suit of armor on and stride right in here.

(Let me first disclose that I own stock in both Overture and FindWhat, and have long term business relationships with both companies.)

I pretty much disagree with everone's opinion here. Particularly the "greedy companies" comments.

If the USA granted Overture a patent than they have a fidiciary responsibility to their shareholders to best monetize that patent. It's not greedy or frivolity....it's simply business. If FindWhat feels the patent was awarded in error than they have a process and means to have the patent invalidated. Neither of them are being greedy. They are just conducting business.

There are patents on almost everything you use in daily life. If Alexander Bell was not able to patent the telephone do you think he would have devoted years of his life into development and experimentation when his invention would have been immediately copied and all financial gain would be lost? Or was Bell being "greedy?"

It really seems that many folks, particulalry teenagers, have this attitude that all businesses are "greedy" and everything should be free. No one has any qualms about using Napster to download the latesest music....Do you think The Beatles would have kept creating music if there was no possibility of financial reward? What about Mozart?

No one calls anyone "greedy" for accepting a paycheck at their job. I doubt any people here feel that we are being "greedy" for putting ads on websites. Unless you operate your websites strictly as a hobby, and donate all of your income from from your websites and/or daily jobs, to charity, than you are no different from Overture or FindWhat.
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Old 01-26-2002, 02:44 PM   #11
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I will put on my Kevlar, too

I'm not going to go as far as calling these companies greedy, but I think this does underscore the problem with "Patent Abuse".

I wonder where the Internet would be if someone had patented the concept of "Placing a cookie on someone's computer to track a sale at a later date" or "Utilizing text links on other sites as a method of advertising" or a myriad of other common practices. These are not natural laws or principles, someone thought this up and therefore could have patented them.

I'm not anti-patent, I can see the need to protect an idea that you've put a considerable amount of time/money into. But, at the same time, patents shouldn't be handed out like candy for every little idea and innovation thought up. The problem is, when you start allowing little marketing and website innovations to be patented, you forget that such innovations and ideas could have been thought up concurrently but independantly by others. Why should the first person to file a patent for it be given a monopoly on it?

I run my business as a business, but at the same time, I don't have a few million lying around to fight a patent. Most small businesses don't. Yet, most revenue in the USA is generated by small businesses, most people are employed by small businesses and most business are indeed small businesses. Is it fair that small businesses are at the mercy of larger companies and the US Patent Office?

Where the Overture/FindWhat thing sits on this is up to you, but I do have a problem with the idea that patent maneuvering is just part of business in all cases.
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Old 01-26-2002, 03:40 PM   #12
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suresk,

There was a case not too long ago of a private individual who held the patent on intermittent wiper blade controls for automobiles. (here's sort of a cite )

The big automakers shrugged off his patent and refused to pay him royalties. He ended up winning huge settlements form multi-billion dollar companies.

In the end, the patent system is the best way to go about things. It's certainly better than no patent system. And there is an appeals process to overturn patents that may have been unfailry awarded.
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Old 01-26-2002, 05:34 PM   #13
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There are rules to protect silly patents.

Just because ":-(" is a trademark does not mean it is not challengeable.

I think the pay per search thing is just an extension of any paid advertising. If company A "bids" higher for my top advertsiing slot, they get it. So I personally think this is an example of a silly case where no patent is deserved by overture.

But that doesn't mean the system doesn't work: let's wait and see what the courts decide before we go saying how terrible the law is.
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Old 01-26-2002, 05:51 PM   #14
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"in this country you need the money and when you have the money, you get the power and when you have the power, you can have anything you want" - Tony Montana

some things are just stoopid... i remember a while ago a guy tried to make some money claiming he invented the 468x60 banner or the text link... and how about yahoo suing excite, lycos, altavista, goto, etc. if they claim that they were the first search engine and invented the thing... goto has no right for that patent... If one would steal their source code and alter it a bit and start findwhat... than that would be wrong ... but findwhat I am sure started from scratch and didnt use any of the goto code... next thing you know ... some guy patents a joke, free stuff and dating sites.... or how about patenting the concept of a : newsletter....

hmm let's see... why are there different TV, computer, anything you want manufacturers ?? why didnt sony patent the walkman so that panasonic, etc cant make tape players ?? GO FINDWHAT GO !!!
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Old 01-26-2002, 06:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Julian1
why didnt sony patent the walkman so that panasonic, etc cant make tape players ??
They are forbidden to produce 'Walkmans'. But they are freely allowed to create tape players.
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