JumpTap Issued Potentially Sweeping Mobile Ads Patent

Mobile search provider and ad network JumpTap has been issued a mobile advertising patent (No. 7,548,915) that appears to have broad implications. Here's how it's described in the press release:

The patent relates to a method for presenting an advertisement in association with a web page displayed on a mobile communication facility, the method comprising the steps of:

  • determining a first relevancy score based upon a statistical association between at least a first advertisement and one or more keywords;
  • determining a second relevancy score based upon a statistical association between at least a second advertisement and the one or more keywords;
  • receiving a web page request from the mobile communication facility;
  • receiving contextual information from the web page, wherein the contextual information includes at least the one or more keywords; and
  • presenting the first advertisement in association with the web page to be displayed on the mobile communication facility based upon a determination that the first relevancy score is greater than the second relevancy score.

The patent application was originally filed in 2006 and is among more than 30 applications that the company filed that year. The patent appears to be focused on ads responding to mobile search queries (through a variety of input methods, including voice). Here's the "background" discussion from the application:

Online search driven by Web-based search engines has proven to be one of the most significant uses of computer networks such as the Internet. Computer users can employ a variety of search tools to search for content using different user interfaces and search methods. In some circumstances, mobile device users can also access Internet search tools to search for content. However, users of many mobile devices such as cell phones encounter difficulties using search technologies intended for conventional online use. Difficulties include the inability to display appropriate content, difficulty entering queries and taking other suitable actions such as navigation in an environment adapted to full screen displays, full-sized keyboards, and high-speed network connections. Furthermore, Internet search engines are currently unable to optimally deliver search results for a mobile communication facility because these search engines are specifically designed for the Internet and not mobile uses. A need exists for improved search capabilities adapted for use with mobile communication devices. 

Again the implications appear to be very broad, however we're in a period of flux with patent law and it would be foolish to make any definitive statements at this point. However a strong IP portfolio makes the company more attractive as an acquisition target or potentially gives it another (licensing) revenue stream down the line if it remains independent.