Firm Offers $5,000 To Nuke Patent Aimed At Hulu, Yahoo

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A business that pays people to expose bogus patents announced it will offer a cash reward to the person who can show that putting an advertisement before an internet clip is not a real invention.

The controversy in question turns on US Patent 7,346,545 which is called “Method and system for payment of intellectual property royalties.” The patent was issued in 2001 and is being used as a weapon against Hulu, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and WildTangent in a long-running court case.

The patent office is only supposed to issue a patent if a claimed invention is new and non-obvious.

Article One says it will pay $5,000 to whoever provides the best evidence from anywhere in the world that the idea of using video ads existed before May, 1999.

Article One is a bounty hunter paid by the targets of nuisance patent lawsuits. It deputizes members of the general pubic by offering them a reward to find “prior art” to wipe out the patent.

In this case, Article One is likely being paid by Yahoo or Hulu. It would be ironic if Yahoo is behind the bounty given that it recently used 10 patents to sue Facebook over claims it is the real inventor of the social network. The ten patents have been the source of scorn and ridicule by investors.

Advocates of patent reform received a glimmer of hope yesterday after a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that medical dosages are a natural law like buoyancy or gravity, and can’t be patented.

The Supreme Court decision was another in a series of rebukes to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. That court is the same one that found that the internet advertising clip patent is valid.

Techdirt has a history of the advertising patent here.

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