24/7 Media Sues DoubleClick for Patent Infringement

In the latest round in the ad serving patent wars, 24/7 Media Inc. on Friday filed suit against industry leader DoubleClick Inc., alleging that the latter company’s DART technology infringes on the former’s patent.

The patent in question — number 6,026,368 — was filed by 24/7 Media (TFSM) on July 17 1995 and granted on February 15, and covers an “on-line interactive system for providing content and information to a targeted set of viewers.”

“We understand that a complaint was filed. We have not yet seen the complaint,” said Elizabeth Wang, vice president and general counsel of DoubleClick (DCLK), in a statement.

“However, based on our initial review of the patent, we believe that any claim of infringement would be baseless. We will defend ourselves vigorously.”

DoubleClick has a suit pending against 24/7 Media subsidiary Sabela Media, which alleges that the company infringed on its patent — number 5,948,061 — for a “method for delivery, targeting and measuring advertising over networks.” The suit was filed in December 1999 — one month before 24/7 Media acquired Sabela in January. Because of that suit, 24/7 Media has asked that the two cases be considered at the same time, by the same judge.

DoubleClick has also sued ad firm L90 (LNTY) over its ad serving system.

At the time it acquired Sabela, David Moore, chief executive officer of 24/7 Media, said of the lawsuit, “if we thought it was an issue, we wouldn’t have bought the company.”

While DoubleClick’s patent, filed in October 1996 and granted in September 1999, covers the serving and targeting of ads, 24/7 Media’s is much wider-ranging. Besides mentioning the targeting and serving of ads or content, it also covers a system with reporting and billing functions.

In the suit, 24/7 Media seeks monetary damages and has requested that a judge order DoubleClick to stop using the technology that allegedly infringes on the patent. It fails, however, to mention any specific cases of patent infringement, only alleging that DoubleClick has made, used, offered for sale and sold technology that infringes on 24/7’s patent.

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