Global Network Gunning for Patent Revenues

Niche ad serving play Global Networks is seeking to turn its patents

into
revenue — which could pose a

problem for the advertisers, publishers and servers that it expects to
cough up that revenue.

Filed in August 2000, the New York-based firm’s patent, No.

6,401,075,
“Methods of placing,

purchasing and monitoring Internet advertising,” protects Global

Network’s
process for uploading ad

creative, deploying that ad to a network of newspaper Web sites, and
automatically configuring the ad

so that it meets each publisher’s or ad unit’s specifications.

Since receiving approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

in
June, Global Network has

been busily contacting publishers, agencies, advertisers and ad servers

in a
bid to collect on the patent,

which theoretically could apply to any party involved in buying,

sending or
selling ads that run on more

than one newspaper Web site.

Initially, the firm bought ad space in the Wall Street

Journal,
announcing its patent. Next, it

delivered an e-mail campaign to about 1,000 publishers using technology

that
it believes to be in

violation of the patent. Additionally, Global Network said it’s in the
process of contacting about 300

agencies, 200 national advertisers, and the top online ad servers.

After it feels it’s given the industry ample notice, the company
plans to begin actually

sending invoices to companies that it believes are infringing — a move

that
is expected to happen

“either this month or next,” said Jim Mason, Global Network’s

president.

Mason said the company was still working on exactly how much to

charge,
though fees are likely to

include a bill for both an annual license and volume of use.

“Our goal is to sign up some of the bigger organizations early on,”

he
said. “We’ve reached a

verbal agreement with one major newspaper company and one major server,

and
an agency that

understands the significance of it.”

He declined to disclose names. Additionally, internetnews.com spoke

to
several Web publishers who

said they had been notified of the patent, but declined to specify

whether
they had officially begin

discussions with Global Networks about licensing.

At least one ad server confirmed that it’s in talks with Global

Network.

“We’re reviewing what the patent means for us, and we’ll probably

wind up
striking some kind of

deal in the near future,” said Paul Benjou, director of client services

for
ValueClick’s MediaPlex unit. “It’s just come to fruition. We don’t

know
what the impact will be, but

certainly everyone wants to be in compliance with any patents or laws.”

At any rate, the move by Global Network continues the patent-based
licensing and litigation that for

years has typified the contentious rivalry among Internet ad servers.

In 1999, DoubleClick sued smaller rivals L90 —

now
MaxWorldwide

— and Sabela Media, for infringing on its own

patent,
No. 5,948,061,

“Method for delivery, targeting and measuring advertising over

networks.” In
early 2000, 24/7 Media,

which had since acquired Sabela and received its own patent — No.
6,026,368, “Method for providing

content and advertising information to a targeted set of viewers” —

and
sued DoubleClick.

All of the players reached a mutual settlement later that year,

financial
terms of which are

confidential, though the firms granted each other certain rights with
respect to the patents. 24/7 Media

since sold Sabela to DoubleClick and acquired Real Media, forming 24/7

Real
Media , while DoubleClick this year sold its media practice to

L90
just months after acquired

L90’s ad serving unit.

In February, 24/7 Real Media sued ValueClick for infringing its

patent. The company settled with Advertising.com, which it had also

accused of violating its patent.

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