Niche ad serving play Global Networks is seeking to turn its patents
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.
“Methods of placing,
purchasing and monitoring Internet advertising,” protects Global
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
June, Global Network has
been busily contacting publishers, agencies, advertisers and ad servers
bid to collect on the patent,
which theoretically could apply to any party involved in buying,
selling ads that run on more
than one newspaper Web site.
Initially, the firm bought ad space in the Wall Street
announcing its patent. Next, it
delivered an e-mail campaign to about 1,000 publishers using technology
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
is expected to happen
“either this month or next,” said Jim Mason, Global Network’s
Mason said the company was still working on exactly how much to
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,”
said. “We’ve reached a
verbal agreement with one major newspaper company and one major server,
an agency that
understands the significance of it.”
He declined to disclose names. Additionally, internetnews.com spoke
several Web publishers who
said they had been notified of the patent, but declined to specify
they had officially begin
discussions with Global Networks about licensing.
At least one ad server confirmed that it’s in talks with Global
“We’re reviewing what the patent means for us, and we’ll probably
striking some kind of
deal in the near future,” said Paul Benjou, director of client services
MediaPlex unit. “It’s just come to fruition. We don’t
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 —
— and Sabela Media, for infringing on its own
“Method for delivery, targeting and measuring advertising over
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” —
All of the players reached a mutual settlement later that year,
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
, while DoubleClick this year sold its media practice to
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.