free html hit counter Patent and Local - John Battelle's Search Blog

Patent and Local

By - June 25, 2007


Interesting: Corporation (NASDAQ: LOCM), a leading local search engine, today announced that the company has been awarded patent number 7,231,405 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the process of indexing and retrieving web-related information by geographical location.

The patent covers local search technology related to identifying location information from web documents, indexing that information and making it searchable geographically. In’s commercial implementation of the technology, the search results are ranked by search term, LocalRank score, location prominence, among other factors. The system then extracts, matches and indexes web pages from the Internet and generates web references where applicable on more than 16 million local businesses listed nationwide on

Patents are a real hot button issue in our industry. What do you all make of this? I’ve sent emails for response from the majors…

Udpate: Donna has a conversation with craigslist CEO here

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3 thoughts on “Patent and Local

  1. james dee says:

    The trouble with Companies making patents within the Tech Industry is in their true intentions. Do they plan to get a particular patent before they launch a business based around their ‘new patent’. Or are they the same as cyber-squatters, that only want to sit on a potential money-earner and stifle the free market.

    Patents for the Tech Industries could eventually become an unhealthy ‘Poison Pill’, preventing creativity and commerce from seeing the light of day.
    Mapping or Earth Based Sites are just another ‘Distribution Channel’ for Location Based Searches. Patents should not be given out just because users are moving onto a different ‘Distribution Channel’.

  2. Jon Garfunkel says:

    In a world without structured data, you need patented algorithms to do the indexing that content creators won’t do. Topix has their own magic formula for figuring out where content comes from.

    But, if you can encourage geotagging and other standard metadata (cf. “microformats”), you can lessen the need for patented algorithms.

    Thus, the Searcher must ask: is Google motivated to supply geotagging and other microformats in Blogspot? I wonder.

  3. JG says:

    Jon: Even with structured data, if the user information need is orthogonal to your ontology, you will still need fancy algorithms to search through and explore the information space. Tagging and metadata does not obviate clever algorithmics