Monday, March 06, 2006

BUSINESS METHODS CHARGE THROUGH TV BROADCASTING: With the exception of the United States, most countries have either restricted or banned business methods from patent protection. For the most part, these countries are quite smug in their respective decisions to nix this "trivial" art form, and remain convinced that they are doing the right thing by excluding business patents. Typically, the rationale begins and ends at the "one-click patent," and assumes that all other other business methods (a) are already being practiced, or (b) are rudimentary variations of the one-click.

Big mistake. So far, business method patents are in the infancy stages, and many of the institutional corporations have just recently established patenting groups for implementing strategies on inventing and developing business and marketing practices outside of traditional "e-commerce" realm that everyone is familiar with.

Recently, I came accross an article describing the concept of "Digital Brand Integration" (DBI) being championed by New York-based Marathon Ventures LLP. Through the use of DBI, products and brand names are blended into objects displayed on television shows to provide commercial revenue, as opposed to running traditional ads during commercial breaks. Since the advent of TiVO and "pay-per-view" cable and satellite programming, the commercial industry has been looking at ways to run ads without having users skip or bypass the ads themselves.

Instead of physically placing objects into a shot (e.g., the Coca-Cola cups sported by all three "Americal Idol" judges, the SUV's driven by CSI detectives), businesses are looking at alternate means for integrating product placements into television shows. According to Nielsen Media Research, network placements in prime time last year numbered 108,261, up more than 30 percent from 2004.

The key component in the DBI system is a process for cataloging each frame of video in a given TV episode to build a list of precise scenes and positions offering advertisers the best natural fit for their products. The idea is for digitally inserted images to be visible but not overly conspicuous to the point of "turning off" viewers. DBI also improves the speed and ease with which brand and product images can be inserted in post-production. Brand images can thus be altered or replaced when the show goes into reruns and off-network syndication.

While the technology underlying DBI has been around for a while, this specific applications of DBI has shown some promise. Marathon Ventures has already signed an unprecedented deal with CBS and is in the process of negotiating with FOX. Marathon has claimed to have filed patents on the technology, but none of them have been published by the USPTO yet.

3 Comentários:

B said...

You make fun of others for arguing by anecdote, and then you justify business method patents by an anecdote?

Are you proposing that innovative business methods are not developing anywhere but in the U.S.A., or that they are developing faster in the U.S.A. than elsewhere? Do you have evidence of any such claim beyond anecdotes? This morning, I went through the econ lit databases yet again, searching for a study that found statistically significant evidence that business method and software patents helped anything, and found zero such studies. So if you have citations, I'd love to see them.

Anonymous said...

I think they are going to find we already the key aspects of digital brand management (particularly where it is adaptive to the intended audience) covered in published patents pending. See for example:

Pages 81-86

Anonymous said...


I’ve looked for econ studies as well, but academia seems to have little interest in the subject and I’m not even sure if their methodologies would be helpful. I think if you want to get a feeling for the impact of business method patents from a statistical perspective, you may have to sponsor the research your self.

My specialty as an agent is patents for the insurance industry. At present we are seeing isolated cases of increased investment in new product development coupled with patent filings. The most visible development is in the field of telematic auto insurance. Patents are being granted and licensed in this area and major insurance companies are making significant investments in new product development.


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