Venture Beat reports Google has won the patent for using location in an advertising system, or something called geo-targeting. Let me quote the article:
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded the search giant a patent for using location in an advertising system last Tuesday, which is the emerging business model for most consumer-facing location startups today.
Filed six years ago, the patent is fairly broad. It covers using location for targeting, setting a minimum price bid for an ad, offering performance analytics, and modifying the content of an ad.
However, the location-based ad patent may give Google a nice big stick as it goes head-to-head with Apple in the world of mobile advertising. Both companies have acquired or agreed to acquire a mobile ad network in the last three months; Google agreed to buy Admob for $750 million in November, while Apple bought Quattro Wireless in January. Google actually bucked a patent Apple owns last month, when it added multi-touch functionality to its Android operating system. Perhaps this is the card the search giant had up its sleeve.
Greg Sterling asked, Has Google Just Patented Geo-Targeting? Seems like they have, on some level. Which is why the WebmasterWorld thread discussing this, seems to be somewhat cynical about patents in general.
To me, the hypothericals aren't far removed from the granting of rights of exclusivity to a company that "creates" a system for changing behavior (show ads) based upon IP->geolocation tracking.
Where's the invention . . in this invention? If you have an idea that my IP address is near Philly is delivering connected with Philly businesses "inventive"? Inventive so much so that "the discovery/invention" is worthy of the rights of exclusivity?
Software patents really need to be scrapped. Almost every patent relates to a simple mechanism or concept that a person with half a brain (such as myself) can come up with almost automatically when presented with a similar problem.
The patent litigation world is a business in itself, I agree, something needs to be done. Although, I am not sure exactly what.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.