• http://www.completewebresources.com Kyle Sanders

    Ugh. I was looking at this earlier and it’s just gross. The patents are incredibly broad. Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references? Please…

  • Zach Griffith

    Thinking about patenting “breathing air”…man I could make some bank!

  • http://www.keshkesh.com/ Takeshi Young

    Really, BrightEdge? A lot of companies have been doing the same thing for years.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    But did they PATENT the process? :)

  • Sebastian Zinke

    This is pathetic from BrightEdge.

  • http://www.keshkesh.com/ Takeshi Young

    Good point. You should move quick to patent “Dispensing SEO advice by method of premium newsletter”, I know a few people you could sue.

  • Nathan Burch

    Maybe it’s time to crowdsource a few prior-art arguments.
    A simple blog post (before the patent filing date) that shows each of their patents’ ideas would be considered prior art, right?
    Their first patent filing was Aug 11, 2010.

  • Nathan Burch

    The patent wouldn’t be valid with documented prior art showing the use of the same tactics/technology.

  • http://www.keshkesh.com/ Takeshi Young

    Yes, that’s exactly my point.

  • http://www.CheesyCorporateLingo.com/ Patrick Reinhart

    This is utterly ridiculous.

  • roachdawg

    Just letting you all know that I’ve got a ‘Cynical Comments To Articles On Trivial Patent Suits’ patent on the go…

  • Brad Thegreat

    I’m going to file for a patent on patent trolling, and stop this garbage once and for all.

  • Mark_Munroe

    Agree this is pathetic. As a BrightEdge customer, not very happy.

  • Kristoff Rand

    The Patent Office went BSC many moons ago… It and the companies that abuse it’s malfeasance need to be dealt with.

  • James Norquay

    Have lost faith in BrightEdge after this recent development.

  • PatentGeek

    >>> I’m absolutely not afraid of a lawsuit because as I see it we are not infringing any patent, especially not patents that were filed after we had these features already.<<<>>Reading the complaint (embedded below) doesn’t clarify much about the specific factual allegations of infringement<<>The patents are incredibly broad. Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references?<<<<

    Again, part of the game. You can't patent ideas, and “Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references” is merely an idea. It's quite simply against the law for the Patent Office to issue patents on ideas.

    But the Patent Office will patent just about anything if you spend 10 or 20 thousand words saying "we'll do it using computers." At that point it becomes an "invention" and can be patented.

    This is a real skill. The goal is to describe something that's incredibly broad; the broader, the more people you can attack, and the easier it will be to find people who actually do infringe (though as I stated earlier, that's not an entirely necessary part of the game). But on the other hand it has to be narrow enough to convince the Patent Office to issue a patent on it … it's a balancing act. Anyway, you harass the Patent Office with technical gobbledygook until you convince them to issue the patent on what is really an (unpatentable) idea

  • http://www.mattstorms.com Matt Storms

    BrightEdge SEO, I didn’t know you had become SEO Patent troll scum. SearchMetrics is a better platform and I hope all SEO’s see that and drop BrightEdge for SearchMetrics.

  • http://www.mattstorms.com Matt Storms

    I wonder if they will attempt to sue Google?

  • PatentGeek

    >>>Maybe it’s time to crowdsource a few prior-art arguments.<<>>A simple blog post (before the patent filing date) that shows each of their patents’ ideas would be considered prior art, right?
    Their first patent filing was Aug 11, 2010.<<<<

    Prior art has to be more than just a blog post showing "each of their patents' ideas"; again, ideas are not patentable, it has to be something that has been described in publication, on sale to the public, in use, or patented that uses the same technology as that outlined in the patent claims.

    See, for instance, the CLAIMS heading, second column: http://j.mp/1cvNySi. It's mostly the dependent claims you are interested in matching (#1 in this case, not of the other, indented claims, which say "The method of claim 1, wherein…); you need to find prior art that exactly matches the independent claims, or two pieces of prior art that, combined, do everything. (Invalidate an independent claim, and you automatically invalidate all the claims that "depend" on it.)

    As for the date, no, not Aug 11, 2010. What counts is not the filing date, but the priority date. On the first listed patent, the one I linked to, the filing date is Feb 9, 2012, but the priority date is Oct 6, 2009.

    Who knows, though. Attorneys love to argue over what the priority date actually is. But for a starting point, before the priority date is where you'd begin looking.

  • DennisG

    Back in 2009, when at eBay, we build a system that did exactly this, Share of voice, calculating the competitor strenghts, calculated what we would need to move up in rank, and execute on it.

    I presented this at BlueGlass Tampa back in 2011, and also on SEMPDX. Here is the write up: http://www.sempdx.org/sempdx-events/past-events/advanced-on-site-seo/

    Might be considered as prior art…

  • Ashutosh R

    But the point is how flawed is patent process. They (patent dept people) are enjoying joyful life just on common man blood curdling procedure…

  • Ashutosh R

    Now, only this was left for SEOs to deal with. I am wondering why such kind of patents get approved by anyone. Patent process is total shamble from the eyes of small time SEO and other person. For they just can’t fight back such a tyrannical (not in certain cases where a person is granted patents for really unique innovation etc.) structure for its cost and other factors.

    I think this profession will soon become a game of biggies like Google, Microsoft etc. who will do SEO and algo wranglings on their ownself. lol

  • Liam Fisher

    At last, the awful culture of patent wars comes to the world of SEO. Thanks guys.

  • https://plus.google.com/105545272487432899798/posts SEOchirp

    This should get interesting real quick!

  • http://www.engineeredmarketing.co.uk/ David Whitehouse

    I thought that too Kyle, what does it even mean?! Glad that in the UK we take a bit more of a sensible view when it comes to patents, it just seems like innovating in the US is a patent infringement minefield.

  • Mambo Man

    This never ends well.

    Even if Search metrics is found to be not infringing, they will spend a fortune and make concessions.

    They’re smart to be using this as PR/advertising now…..’cause they will certainly need the cash!

  • http://www.seo-doctor.co.uk/ SEO Doctor

    What a total waste of money that could be spent on product innovation. Can see Brightedge losing a lot of clients, Searchmetrics already have a stronger connection with the SEO community.

  • pojda

    Thats… just… disgusting.

  • Rae Hoffman

    “8,577,863: “Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references” Granted 11/5/2013″

    Um, hello Google Analytics? One has to wonder if suing a smaller company isn’t a lithmus test for whether or not they can go after larger ones before they go up against companies with legal departments bigger than their own company.

    That said, how bout BrightEdge focuses on making their own product better vs. suing the competition for doing it better. Just a thought for them.

  • https://twitter.com/MartinOddy Martin Oddy

    As always the only real winner in all this is the lawyers.

    I hope BrightEdge has factored in the cost of reputational damage into their plans.

  • http://www.trackpal.co.uk Scott Lawson

    It’s a sign a company is struggling when they use this tactic. Well done SearchMetrics! You’re clearly the better of the two companies

  • Danner

    I never heard of SearchMetrics until today. They have some nice tools in there. Why doesn’t BrightEdge just improve their own platform if they want to stay competitive?

  • http://docsheldon.com/ Doc Sheldon

    Exactly what I was thinking, Rae. Although precedent doesn’t carry the same weight in infringement suits as in statute law, it can weigh in heavily. I’d be willing to bet that Google’s legal team will be not only following the case closely, but dedicating some man-hours to research and preparation, if it gets to court.

  • Alan Ng

    Wasting money on lawyers than to spend it on talent. This doesn’t send a good message to users of the platform if they know that their dollar is spent on law suits rather than innovation.

  • http://www.completewebresources.com Kyle Sanders

    I’m not familiar with how things are across the pond, but it can be ridiculous in the US. I was contracted to help with SEO and Amazon A9 rankings for a tablet accessory that was quite innovative and sure enough, 3 months after launch, they were sued over a broad patent infringement from a company that didn’t even have something on the market yet.

    Very sad to see this happening in SEO. Maybe I should file a patent on “correlating diet and steps walked per day with body fat reduction.” Seems legit.

  • Mark_Munroe

    Oh I get great recommendations from BrightEdge.
    “Get more tweets”
    “Get more likes”
    “Get more links”
    “Repeat keyword 10 times”

  • http://www.ammonjohns.com/ Ammon Johns

    Spot on, which is where BrightEdge are ultimately screwed with any sort of decent legal representation by the defendants. Prior art on SEO software goes right back to WebPositionGold in the ‘Nineties and with the BrightEdge patents being so broad, and ill-defined, would indeed class as Prior Art.

    Basically, their cash spent on patenting will turn out to have been wasted. The reason *real* patents can be so expensive is the sheer research needed to ensure there is no decent possible claim of prior art or pre-existing patent overlaps.

  • PatentGeek

    1: Free money.

    Or,

    2: Kill a competitor.

  • PatentGeek

    It doesn’t matter when the patent was granted; what counts is the Priority Date, which may be Oct 6, 2009 (http://www.google.com/patents/US8577863). Could be earlier, depending on various factors.

    And yes, it may be an initial foray into the patent wars; any company doing similar things is now on notice that BrightEdge could attack at any time. Who knows, they may even attack Google at some point claiming that Analytics infringes. As one of the most successful patent-troll attorneys once said, “‘This business is not based on what’s right or what’s wrong, it’s based on fear. Nobody would pay you for a patent unless they feared that the consequences of not paying you vastly exceeded the consequences of paying.”

    There are various reasons to start by attacking small companies:

    1: Easy pickings; they can’t afford to fight back, and thus have to settle (providing money for your war chest).

    2: It can help you pick the court you want to fight in. If you attack a single party or a small number of parties, they may try to move venue; but if you attack a bunch of small companies, it’s easier to pick your venue … you can say, “wait a minute, we have these guys here, and here and here, it’s not fair to move venue!”

    3: Knocking down various small Defendants helps you legitimize your patent. You force them to buy licenses, then you can say, in front of a jury, that you have sold license to x number of companies… why, jury, would they buy licenses if it wasn’t a valid and valuable patent?

  • PatentGeek

    That document is dated about two weeks after the patent was filed, so it’s not prior art. You’d need to show something much earlier, maybe even prior to October 2009, the presumed priority date (presumed by Google, anyway: http://www.google.com/patents/US8577863).

    Plus, the prior art has to be more than something that generally matches the title of the patent; it has to “teach” each and every one of the limitations of the Claims that the Plaintiff is claiming are infringed.

  • PatentGeek

    This simply isn’t true. You’re assuming that the system makes sense, that it’s a just system, and it’s not. Even if there is true prior art, there’s no guarantee that it’s sufficient to kill the patent or a patent lawsuit. Depending on the court the case is filed in, the Plaintiffs may be able to get the in front of a jury, at which point who knows what’s going to happen.

    The jury will be told that they must assume the patent is valid, but that the Defendant can try to convince them the patent is not. However, anyone with any computing knowledge will be excluded from the jury. The jury will have no idea what the hell is going on, but they will remember that they have to assume the patent is valid.

    The system is set up to favor Plaintiffs; it’s very hard for a Defendant to win, even when all the facts are in their favor.

  • DennisG

    Since I’m not a party in this case, I don’t see the need to spend a whole lot of time on this myself.

    If the BlueGlass website was still available, it would show a write up of the same deck I presented in Oct 2011.

    Since this was an internal system we build, there is not more prior art available, where a lot of what was built was not patented because we didn’t want to make it more public.

  • Matt O’Toole

    Oh my! “Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references.”… couldn’t they sue every SEO agency on the basis too? Also, is there any jurisdictional issue here? It’s been a few years since I studied IP law.

  • Stuart David

    Brighteyes are now on my list of companies I would like to see burn out – I hate it when a ‘company’ goes all troll – hopefully they burn fast

  • Stuart David

    Boycott time, its that kind of community, hopefully it will be the beginning of the end of them.

  • http://www.tatupatronen.fi/ Tatu Patronen

    Patent war isn’t part of SEO world. BrightEdge: Thanks for making yourself a software to avoid.