Quid Pro Nope: Online Ad-Watching Patent Nixed

Quid Pro Nope: Online Ad-Watching Patent Nixed

We’ve all been there: enduring a video ad before accessing desired content. Well, did you know that groan-worthy moment was patented? Or it was until recently.

Courtesy of a recent Ars Technica piece by Joe Mullin, we learn that Ultramercial, the patent-holding company, took on Hulu and settled. But when Ultramercial sued WildTangent, the game network hung on and eventually won the court battle.

This year’s Alice v. CLS Bank ruling was instrumental in that win. After Alice, the Supreme Court advised the Federal Circuit to reconsider the ad-watching patent case for a third time. It resulted in the three-judge panel rejecting the patent. Per Circuit Judge Alan Lourie:

“The process of receiving copyrighted media, selecting an ad, offering the media in exchange for watching the selected ad, allowing the consumer access to the media, and receiving payment from the sponsor of the ad all describe an abstract idea, devoid of concrete or tangible expression.”

Circuit Judge Haldane Mayer’s opinion stated that tossing patents as “abstract” at the beginning of a lawsuit will help reduce frivolous claims.

What do you think of the panel’s decision and the respective judges’ opinions? Feel free to share your opinion while you wait for that video ad to finish.


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