A pair of companies long active in digital signage and digital out of home have reached an out of court patent dispute settlement that could have broader implications for the use of social media feeds on networked digital screens.
Boston-based software and solutions firm Aerva has reached a settlement in a patent infringement action filed by Orlando-based media firm Monster Media on Feb. 13 of this year in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
The dispute stems from Monster’s patents – US 8,886,759, US 7,450,954, US 8,615,565 and US 8,880,649 – which are based around enabling social media engagement in the digital out of home space. The patents were picked up in 2013 by Monster when it bought LocaModa – which was marketing tools like Wiffiti for presenting social conversations as far back as 2004, before Twitter was launched and it was even called social media.
Stephen Randall, EVP Mobile and Social Technology at Monster Media (and LocaModa’s founder), says in a news release:
“We are glad to have reached this settlement with Aerva. The ability to engage with audiences and amplify a brand’s messages across multiple channels has become a critical part of an Out-of-Home network’s toolkit. Our intellectual property is a key enabler of that experience and helps us defend the strategic market position for our Monster Social platform.”
Robert Epstein, Monster’s lawyer, adds: “Monster has built and invested in a substantial patent portfolio around enabling social media for Out-of-Home digital networks and event-based screens and this settlement validates the strength of their properties.”
Epstein says he believes the settlement will provide a significant advantage with respect to ongoing and future litigation, and the licensing of Monster’s patents for Out-of-Home, Retail, Sport and Event-based social media.
What it likely does is set a precedent for future actions, and guidance for judges in other jurisdictions. There are many, many, many software and services companies directly or indirectly involved in digital signage and digital out of home that sell, provide and enable tools, widgets and gadgets that enable feeds from Twitter, Instagram and other social media streams to get up on larger screens.
What these companies do may or may not be seen as infringing on Monster’s IP. If it’s a part of the business offer, those companies might want to have a read through the patents, or better, get a proper opinion from someone who does intellectual property work.
VERY generally, the LocaModa/Monster Social IP is based largely around the idea and process of harvesting and publishing content based on tags – like a sports team name – and then running it through filters, parameters and rules. LocaModa has the IP around getting and processing this media from multiple sources – social, web, etc – as opposed to something defined by a single venue or resource.
The end game for Monster is licensing the capability, and the news release says Boston-based Randall is the prime contact on discussing that.