Last week an Ohio company filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and Google, alleging infringement on a patent related to paid search methods. The lawsuit was filed by Paid Search Engine Tools of Liberty Township, Ohio. In the lawsuit, the company claims that Microsoft adCenter and Google AdWords infringe upon patent no. 7,043,450, “Paid Search Engine Bid Management.”
The patent in question was filed in 2002, and granted in May 2006. This same company filed a lawsuit against Yahoo last September. An important piece of information to note is that the lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, a district notorious for favorable outcomes to plaintiffs in patent lawsuits.
In Paid Search Engine Tools’ patent, it describes a method of:
“…for overcoming deficiencies and inefficiencies in the current paid search engine keyword bidding market, by providing keyword bidders with information they need to better optimize their use of paid search engines. The system accumulates bid amounts for a plurality of target keywords at one or more paid Internet search engines, and presents the bid amounts to a user, enabling the user to evaluate and optimize bids on those keywords.”
Put simply, they are claiming online keyword auctions to be in violation of their patent. While I’m not a lawyer and am not about to formulate an opinion on this without of all the facts and evidence, I will say this: at least they’re being fair and going after all three, and not just one.