Invidi Lands Interactive TV RFI Patent

Invidi Technologies, a provider of targeted advertising systems for television, has been granted a patent covering an interactive TV system for fulfilling viewer requests for information.

Canoe Ventures, owned by the six largest MSOs in the U.S., had been trying to sell RFI-enabled ads and other interactive TV services on a handful of cable networks before the company last month announced it was shutting down its ITV business and laying off 120 of its 150 employees.

Invidi was granted U.S. Patent No. 8,146,126, titled "Request for Information Related to Broadcast Network Content," which covers an RFI system for use in communications networks including broadcast networks and the Internet. It describes the process of transmitting an RFI request from a set-top box to a data center, which can then send assets or follow-on information back to the user's set-top, to a website or to an e-mail address.

The patent is the tenth Invidi has been granted worldwide, but the first related to interactive TV. Invidi's previous patents have covered addressable advertising.

"Layering our RFI functionality on top of our powerful addressable advertising system enables highly targeted content and advertising to be made interactive by the simple click of a button," Invidi senior vice president of media Michael Kubin said.

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted Invidi the '126 patent Tuesday, after the vendor applied for it May 18, 2009.

In May 2011, Invidi sued Visible World and Cablevision Systems, which is using Visible World's addressable-advertising solution, 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. That lawsuit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.