back to article Google-backed Yieldify has acquired IP from ‘world’s biggest patent troll’

Yieldify, the Google Ventures-backed startup accused of stealing code from British adtech company Bounce Exchange, has been making some unusual friends. Yieldify has acquired an ancient web patent from III Holdings which was first filed in 2007. III Holdings is better known as Inside Intellectual Ventures, co-founded by Nathan …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the patent actually for. What does "System and method for displaying unrequested information within a web browser" mean in English?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      That sounds suspiciously like a convoluted way of saying "displaying ads".

      1. hellwig

        Unrequested information? Seems like this is one patent fight we can all get behind. Force them to remove the offending technology from existence! IIV/Google, do something "not evil" with this patent!

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          IIV/Google, do something "not evil" with this patent!

          Define "evil". Remember here that, in Google-land, providing you with a more comprehensive advertising experience is on a par with luxury soft-centred chocolates and fluffy kittens on the scale of eviltude.

      2. zen1

        I wonder if they're disguised to look like system generated messages? Oh well, they can all rot for all I care.

    2. Argh

      I've looked so that others don't have to. From their website, it looks like they try to "re-engage" you on a site, if you leave it for a bit.

      The examples they gave:

      If you leave a retail website with a non-empty basket, it will email you occasionally (possibly with deals as an incentive).

      Similarly, if on mobile you switch away from the tab or browser and come back, it can pop-over an advert/deal as an incentive to continue.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "The examples they gave:"

        Look suspiciously like the reasons why people install adblocks.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Bought for offense or defense ?

    Were the patents bought to hit other companies with or to stop google being a target ? The article was not clear to me.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: Bought for offense or defense ?

      So unclear, you can't even tell if Google had anything to do with this, or will ever get anything from it.

      Lots of dots.. Plenty of dots..

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Bought for offense or defense ?

      Possibly both. And of course, the best defense is a good offense!

    3. Dadmin
      Thumb Up

      Re: Bought for offense or defense ?

      It would have been clearer with a brief history of why Google is doing this, but the long and the short of it is that Google is seemingly helping the tech community at large deal with a sticky problem with companies that collect and sit on patents with the sole objective of blackmail. That's what a patent troll does; they collect a patent for which they have no other use than to discovery anyone and everything doing anything remotely similar to their "patented idea" then threaten them with East Texas "Justice" if'n they don't gimme gimme on licenses or other cash awards. Google, and most of the other big players have enough pull, and now inside friends at the Patent Office, and over time some things should occur which help real technical innovators; 1) Big companies collect as many patents as they can with the goal(hopefully, they could do otherwise, but that wouldn't be cricket) of owning and basically sitting on them and NOT threatening other real tech companies with this outright bullshit action, 2) over time the patent laws will, again hopefully, get straightened out to a point where only serious patents on real innovations become real, and NPEs get the shaft, and 3) all the useless me-too and just plain stupid patents will get revoked never to offend us again. That's the end goal, and the blue sky outcome. YMMV

      You don't get to sit on the sidelines and claim your playing the game. That should become the new standard, not this older method being hacked by NPE shithouses.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Bought for offense or defense ?

        "Google is seemingly helping the tech community at large deal with a sticky problem with companies that collect and sit on patents with the sole objective of blackmail. That's what a patent troll does"

        Google is large enough to _buy_ most of the patent trolls and shut them down. The hard part would be insuring that the people behind trolling operations can't simply start acquiring new patents with that money and trolling with those instead.

        The whole mess is falling apart. The Australians are correct in their recommendations wrt allowable patents /copyright duration and international cartels but these recommendations will never be allowed to happen.

  3. Herby

    Solution to this mess...

    Loser pays.

    Enough said.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Solution to this mess...

      Even when it's a troll friendly East Texas judge?

      It's all well and good saying loser pays but if the "winner" is the one with the deepest pockets, what does that do to innovation?

  4. TJ1

    TLDR: need leverage to spin settlement out of copyright/patent infringement

    Yieldify's series A funding of US$11.5m was jointly from Google Ventures *and* Softbank.

    This isn't a Google-owned company.

    Bounce Exchange (am I the only one keeps calling them BouncyCastle!?) have sued for Copyright infringement in New York and Patent infringement in Texas. They allege the Yieldify (this is a trading name of Zeus Enterprise Ltd.) directors/founders attended a demonstration of the BouncyCastle software and later ripped off the code.

    Just this week Yieldify laid off 10% of its work-force and announced a new 'senior management team'.

    It looks very much like the company is trying to find some bargaining leverage to reach a settlement with Bounce Exchange rather than go to trial and they believe this patent is the ammunition they need.

    In the original New York suit part of Yieldify's defence reads:

    "in March 2013, Mr. Jay Radia, Defendant's Chief Executive Officer, and Mr. Meelan Radia, Defendant's Chief Technical Officer, met with representatives of Plaintiff. At that meeting, Plaintiff demonstrated certain public-facing aspects of its behavioral marketing automation software. Plaintiff did not reveal any confidential information to Defendant, and did not show Defendant any of its source code, either at this meeting or otherwise."

    I call that downright disingenuous and designed to mislead non-technical (legal) people.

    The code at issue is client-side Javascript, so Yieldify or anyone else could easily copy Bounce Exchange's source-code without it being 'revealed' by them.

    All it requires is to visit a web-site that uses Bounce Exchange's service to have the site send the source-code as an integral part of the HTTP request.

    Amazingly, the Yieldify web-site states the legal entity is "Zeus Enterprises Ltd" but it is actually "Zeus Enterprise Ltd" (Co # 08037124) - OK, it's a small typo but you'd think they'd get the basic legal title correct, and it's repeated throughout their Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy.

  5. JeffyPoooh

    "...I thought you hated patent trolls?"

    'Hold your friends close, and your enemies closer.'

    Anyone working for a company that's been acquired by another larger corporation knows that it's not 'love' that motivates it. Whatever it is, it's indistinguishable from a meal being being eaten.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like this is win-win for Google. Win the court case and Yieldify get to use the technology. They loose the case one more troll patent kicked in the goolies.

  7. Wolfclaw

    Googles own former head of patents, Michelle Lee, now runs the US Patents and Trademarks Office. Must be very handy to have Barack O'bumface face as your own personal bitch and to get your own stooges asisgned to governemnt offices. ALLEGEDLY !

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