Targeted-Ad Firm Invidi Sues Cablevision, Visible World

Invidi Technologies, a developer of addressable advertising solutions for TV operators, has sued Cablevision Systems and targeted-ad vendor Visible World, alleging they infringe a patent Invidi owns for delivering addressable ads.

The suit was filed May 5 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

Cablevision declined to comment on the Invidi lawsuit.

In a statement Visible World said: "Visible World, the leading provider of targeted television advertising solutions, has extensive experience developing and delivering addressable technology to clients. We are confident that upon examination the claims of patent infringement made against Visible World will prove to be without merit, and the company will prevail in its defense of the actions brought against it. Moreover, the day-to-day business operations of Visible World will not be impacted in any way by this dispute."

Invidi seeks unspecific damages as well as an order barring Cablevision and Visible World from using the patent.

Cablevision has deployed the Visible World system across its entire footprint in the New York metropolitan area, allowing it to deliver different local ads to approximately 3 million digital cable subscribers based on individual household information, such as income.

In March, Cablevision announced that it worked with GroupM and Visible World to successfully deliver five different TV spots, in the same 30-second ad break across 25 cable networks, on behalf of unspecified brands in the fourth quarter of 2010.

According to Invidi's lawsuit, Cablevision and Visible World infringe the Invidi-owned 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. The patent was issued Aug. 26, 1997.

In June 2010, Invidi announced it would seek to license two other recently issued patents, which are not at issue in the suit against Cablevision and Visible World.

New York-based Invidi has received $111.5 million in funding, from investors including DirecTV, Google, WPP's GroupM, Motorola Ventures, Experian, NBC, Verizon and venture capital firms Menlo Ventures, InterWest Partners, EnerTech Capital, Westbury Equity Partners and BDC Capital.

Invidi, founded in 2000, has 55 employees. The company has struck long-term distribution agreements to deploy its addressable-ad technology with DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS TV. All told the targeted-advertising vendor claims it is rolling out its system to cover more than 36 million TV households in the U.S. and elsewhere.