The Kelsey Blog [blog.kelseygroup.com] has details of a patent that covers crawling websites to allow searching by location.
Patent 7231405 [patft.uspto.gov] could be a problem for many local search companies as it covers a broad range of concepts that many companies will have already implemented independently of this research. It appears that Local.com are saying that there are people 'infringing the patent', a clear sign to me that the claims may not invole an innovation that merits the patent.
Publicity grab? A "there's no bad publcity" idea in action?
At some point the over-reaching for patent protection needs to be countered by lawsuits seeking to crush the life out of the companies and their executives[ who assert the ever more over-reaching claims.
Search localization by grabbing local data from a website? There has to be something more than that to it. That's just too too too too too too obvious to merit patent protection. Maybe CompanyX is early to the game to deploy localization but don't tell me that grabbing and building a database of local data is an act of invetive genius. There's got to be a lot more to this.
"Oh, but you can't sue us! We're protect! We're acting in good faith! (Some bobo in) The patent office issued us a patent!"
Maybe we should also start suing to bobos in the patent office and the U.S. government for stiffling basic business evolution by clouding the process of fundamental or rudimentary business process extensions with meritless patents?
A local search engine geographically indexes information for searching by identifying a geocoded web page of a web site and identifying at least one geocodable web page of the web site. The system identifies a geocode contained within content of the geocoded web page of the web site. The geocode indicates a physical location of an entity associated with the web site. The system indexes content of the geocoded web page and content of the geocodable web page. The indexing including associating the geocode contained within content of the geocoded web page to the indexed content of the geocoded web page and the geocodable web page to allow geographical searching of the content of the web pages.
Holy Mothers of Invention! That reads an awful lot like "We'll look for the zip code or telephone area code on the website, associate the zip/area code with a location and then we'll index the website by association with the "geocode" . . err . . cough . . cough . . zip code".
Somebody put me in restraints before I punch a hole in my monitor. What an utter load of patentoffices invention wordifying nonsense.
[edited by: Webwork at 2:00 pm (utc) on June 27, 2007]