Invidi Granted Another Addressable-Ad Patent

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Invidi Technologies on Tuesday was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the delivery of addressable ads in a system in which set-top boxes or other end-user devices make ad-placement decisions.

U.S. Patent No. 8,065,703, "Reporting of User Equipment Selected Content Delivery," describes consumer-premises equipment sending signals to headend systems about targeted content, with assets inserted into the content stream based on that signaling and the CPE reporting on their delivery. Invidi applied for the patent on Aug. 25, 2006.

"When we move to what we consider true addressability, when you have decisions about what ads to run on a set-top-by-set-top basis, that's where this falls into play," Invidi president and CEO Dave Downey said in an interview.

According to Downey, the '703 patent builds on Invidi's existing patent portfolio covering key aspects of delivering targeted ads.

"We look at it as building a brick wall [of intellectual property]," Downey said. "The wall is about six feet high and there are very few places to peek through."

Invidi in May 2011 sued Visible World -- a competing provider of addressable-advertising solutions -- and Cablevision Systems, a Visible World customer, alleging they infringed U.S. Patent No. 5,661,516 titled "System and Method for Selectively Distributing Commercial Messages over a Communications Network," covering household targeting and addressing advertisements to a subscriber terminal based on household data associated with the terminal.

Downey said Invidi was not seeking royalty payments from Visible World or Cablevision: "It was more a point of asserting what we own."

Currently, Invidi has no patent-licensing deals apart from its customer engagements. "We don't have a licensing program. We had never contemplated doing that," Downey said. "We are not a patent-driven company; we are a software-driven company."

However, in a statement released in June 2010, Downey said that Invidi was "willing to consider license arrangements with other industry players under the right circumstances."

Invidi's targeted-advertising system is under contract for about 40 million homes with DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon Communications' FiOS TV. New York-based Invidi has received $111.5 million in funding from investors including DirecTV, Google, WPP's GroupM, Motorola Ventures, Experian, NBC, Verizon and venture capital firms Menlo Ventures, InterWest Partners, EnerTech Capital, Westbury Equity Partners and BDC Capital.

Other patents Invidi owns include U.S. Patent Nos. 7,730,509, "Asset Delivery Reporting in a Broadcast Network"; 7,698,236, "Fuzzy Logic Based Viewer Identification for Targeted Asset Delivery System"; and 7,546,619, "Voting and Headend Insertion Model for Targeting Content in a Broadcast Network."