Archive for the ‘Law and Legal Matters’ Category

Local Search Technology “Patent Troll” Expands Lawsuits To Target Hundreds Of Retailers

Friday, January 7th, 2011

A recent post by a member on WebmasterWorld alerted me that GeoTag is widening their local search technology lawsuits to include many more companies. WebmasterWorld sharply limits forum members from mentioning particular links, but I think the member was referring to this GeoTag Inc. v. Royal Purple Inc. et al patent suit.


The WebmasterWorld forum member refers to GeoTag as a “patent troll“, which I think may be deserved. He mentions that this company went after Superpages, YellowBot, Yelp,,, and many other IYPs in the past. I was aware of some of this where it concerned Superpages, but I will not comment upon that.

There has been some supposition that GeoTag might be going after relatively small targets before eventually working up to go against a major target such as Google. It’s my opinion that a number of these companies have likely settled in order to remove a nuisance or to avoid risk of an outright loss in court.

It’s also my opinion that a larger target such as a Google Maps or Bing Maps might eventually stand up to them if they were to go after them, and force a legal decision which could void out their ability to enforce this sort of claim any further. I think it may be that their claim might not have merit when considering the full scope of related prior art — although I’m certainly not an attorney. (more…)

Did TechCrunch’s Leaked Image Expose Their Google Informant?

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I was lured into reading a TechCrunch story tonight which purports to expose a new social media utility called Google +1, and I happened to see that they had blurred out the Google username in the upper right corner, likely intending to obscure the identity of their informant who leaked the screengrab image to them.

When glancing at the leaked image fully expanded, it appeared to me that the blurring of the name was somewhat insufficient, and the letters appeared tantalizingly near to being recognizable. I couldn’t help but wonder: could the blurring be reversed?

With extremely minor image manipulation, I found that the blurred name indeed could be reversed, perhaps just sufficiently to make identification possible. Of course, the image could have been taken by a different employee, so I have redacted the altered picture.

[Image redacted upon consideration, because I do not wish to accidentally impugn a possibly-noninvolved person.]

Curious, I thought to cross-reference with LinkedIn, and indeed, I found a Software Engineer at Google whose name resembled the de-blurred pic.


Dear TechCrunch: Cybersquatting Is Wrong

Friday, October 29th, 2010

This week, TechCrunch reported on how Google has demanded that stop using their “YouTube” trademark and hand over their domain name. The writer, Alexia Tsotsis, goes on to remark that since YouTubeSocial has attracted over 50K of unique visitors and is in acquisition talks, “…they are doing something right.”

No they aren’t. They’re doing cybersquatting.


Alexia is suggesting that Google is going after them over trademark infringement of the YouTube brand name because Google must think YouTubeSocial is some big threat to them. Really? 50K of uniques is a threat to YouTube already?

That’s actually a bit disingenuous, because TechCrunch knows very well (more…)

Yellow Pages Opt-Out Not Working in Canada?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

On the “Yellow Pages – Opt Out requirement must end!” Facebook group, a number of members have reported that the opt-out hasn’t worked.

Yellow Pages Delivery Opt-Out Abolishment Group on Facebook

Canadian Yellow Pages Delivery Opt-Out Abolishment Group on Facebook

Frederic Bohbot’s group was primarily targeted to Montreal, aimed particularly at the Yellow Pages Group company in Canada, a.k.a. Groupe Pages Jaunes.

As you can see from one of the above entries, some of the rules surrounding opting out of yellow pages can be poorly-understood by those involved, adding to friction surrounding the issue. An apartment landlord opted-out, but was surprised to still receive deliveries, and a YPG representative explains that “due to privacy laws”, people cannot opt-out on behalf of others. Yet, it sounds as if his tenants aren’t picking up the books, so they likely end up remaining in the building’s common area, where the landlord is left with the duty of dealing with them. (more…)

Idearc (Superpages) Trustee Files Lawsuit Against Verizon Over Bankruptcy

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Wow! U.S. Bank is suing Verizon for spinning-off their yellow pages unit, called “Idearc Media” after the spinoff, with too high a debt load. Idearc Media was the operator of, a major internet yellow pages site. U.S. Bank is the trustee for Idearc.

Verizon & Involvement in Fairpoint Communications & Idearc Bankruptcy Filings idearc media logo

For anyone who hasn’t followed the string of companies involved, here’s the super-brief overview: (more…)