Lycos to Sell Off Patents?

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I read today the news that early Search Engine Lycos is selling off their patents, presumably to enable them to launch other services. This was stated in the betaboston article Internet search pioneer Lycos puts patents up for sale.

I wondered how many patents Lycos might have, and what they covered, so I looked them up. Lycos hasn’t been around as a search engine for a few years, and yet it’s possible that there’s some value left in these patents. Some look very interesting, like the one about collections (Google just came out with a couple of patents on collections.) Here they are:

1) 9,015,176 Automatic identification of related search keywords

Abstract

Keyword expansion is used to expand a particular keyword into multiple related keyword candidates using a collection of data that relates to search queries performed using one or more search engines. The data identifies search terms from associated search queries.

A particular keyword is identified and one or more candidate keywords related to the particular keyword are identified based on the data.

2) 8,266,162 Automatic identification of related search keywords

Abstract

A computer-implemented method and system for performing a trusted search is described. A credibility score is assigned to a Web site based on whether the Web site meets at least a portion of trust criteria. The Web site is stored in an index of trusted Web sites if the credibility score assigned to the Web site is within a predefined range of credibility scores. The Web site is displayed on a machine if the Web site is determined to contain information that is relevant to a search query.

3) 8,171,009 Method and system for performing a search on a network

Abstract

Keyword expansion is used to expand a particular keyword into multiple related keyword candidates using a collection of data that relates to search queries performed using one or more search engines. The data identifies search terms from associated search queries.

A particular keyword is identified and one or more candidate keywords related to the particular keyword are identified based on the data.

4) 8,082,587 Detecting content in files

Abstract

A method for detecting undesirable content in a computer directory having a digital file includes performing a size check on the digital file, the size check returning a first passing condition or a first failing condition, if the size check returns the first passing condition, the method further includes performing one or more behavioral indicator checks on the digital file, and determining whether the digital file contains undesirable content based on the one or more behavioral indicator checks.

5) 8,082,516 Preview panel

Abstract

Generating a preview panel includes generating an auxiliary display in response to an action performed in a primary display, where the primary display is for presenting one or more entries that correspond to results of a Web-based search, receiving data identifying an entry from the primary display, and generating, for presentation in the auxiliary display, information corresponding to the entry from the primary display.

6) 8,046,375 Geo targeted commerce

Abstract

A user query has values for attributes that specify features of a desired item is received and processed in a computer system in a network. A database is searched for an item having attribute values that satisfy at least a subset of the values for attributes from the user query.

Once an item is found in the database, a location where the item will be supplied along with a set of suppliers for the item in proximity to the location is determined.

7) 7,962,463 Automated generation, performance monitoring, and evolution of keywords in a paid listing campaign

Abstract

Keyword candidates are identified by in response to receiving an identification of a web page.

Content of the web page is analyzed to identify terms from the web page. An automated keyword expansion is performed using the identified terms to produce a set of candidate keywords.

Keyword suggestions are generated for the web page using the set of candidate keywords, and one or more of the keyword suggestions are used in a paid listing campaign.

A performance of a paid listing campaign is compared with a performance threshold. An automated keyword expansion is performed using one or more keywords from the set of keywords to produce a set of alternative keywords in response to the comparison. One or more alternative keywords are selected from the set of alternative keywords for use in the paid listing campaign.

8) 7,716,340 Restricting access to a shared resource

Abstract

A method for restricting access of a client to a web site hosted at first and second servers is described. A first tally that includes identification information of the client and a first number of access requests sent from the client to the first server is received.

A second tally that includes the identification information of the client and a second number of access requests sent from the client to the second server is received. The first and second tallies are collated to determine a total number of access requests made by the client.

9) 7,664,770 Smart browser panes

Abstract

An article of manufacture and method includes displaying content associated with a universal resource locator (URL) on a graphical user interface (GUI), receiving a first search parameter for a first search engine, displaying a first search result in a first pane of the GUI, the first search result associated with a first search parameter, determining a second search parameter associated with a URL from the first search parameter for a second search engine, displaying a second search result in a second pane of the GUI, the second search result associated with a second search parameter.

10) 7,620,627 Generating keywords

Abstract

Generating keywords for use in searching content includes receiving a keyword, obtaining categories that corresponds to the keyword from a catalog file, receiving a selection corresponding to at least one of the categories, and generating keywords associated with the selection.

The catalog file includes mappings of keywords to categories, and obtaining categories that correspond to the keyword includes retrieving mapped categories from the catalog file that correspond to the keyword.

11) 7,606,809 Method and system for performing a search on a network

Abstract

A computer-implemented method and system for performing a trusted search is described. A credibility score is assigned to a Web site based on whether the Web site meets at least a portion of trust criteria.

The Web site is stored in an index of trusted Web sites if the credibility score assigned to the Web site is within a predefined range of credibility scores. The Web site is displayed on a machine if the Web site is determined to contain information that is relevant to a search query.

12) 7,548,913 Information synthesis engine

Abstract

A method of generating a report from multiple sources includes obtaining a topic based on input queries relating to the topic, obtaining information about the topic from the multiple sources, where the information includes excerpts from the multiple sources that meet one or more criteria, and generating the report using the excerpts.

Generating the report includes obtaining subtopics for the excerpts, organizing the excerpts based on the subtopics, and editing text in the excerpts.

13) 7,406,508 Capturing advertising requests from a user

Abstract

A system in which a user accessing a web environment can request advertising information without leaving the currently displayed web page. A server is communicatively coupled to a client device, such as a personal computer, and is configured to communicate content to the client device for display to the user.

The content includes media, such as a web-based interactive game, an advertisement and an input area for requesting advertising information. One or more software modules executing in an operating environment provided by the server are configured to receive input from the client device when a user interacts with the media, such as taking a turn in the interactive game.

The software modules communicate advertising information to the user, such as sending an email message, based on the received input, thereby allowing the user to request advertising information without interrupting his or her interaction with the currently displayed media.

14) 7,389,307 Returning databases as search results

Abstract

A method including enumerating plausible queries of a target database using query generation rules, and generating associated teasers for each of the enumerated queries using query matching rules.

15) 7,299,270 Inferring relations between internet objects that are not connected directly

Abstract

An inferred relation weighting process for determining the strength of an inferred relation between a first and a second Internet object which are not directly linked includes a first link weighting process for determining the strength of at least a first link between the first non-directly linked Internet object and a common object.

A second link weighting process determines the strength of at least a second link between the second non-directly linked Internet object and the common object. An inferred relation weight calculation process calculates the strength of the inferred relation based on the strength of the at least a first link and the at least a second link.

16) 7,228,493 Serving content to a client

Abstract

A method includes scanning content of a web page in which a web component is to be inserted, inferring a profile from the scanned content and serving the web component in the web page according to the profile.

17) 7,224,297 Compressing log files

Abstract

Data is compressed, which includes first through sixth patterns having respective first through sixth values, where the first pattern precedes the second pattern in the data, the third pattern precedes the fourth pattern in the data, and the fifth pattern precedes the sixth pattern in the data.

Compression includes outputting a first code and the second value if the second value exceeds the first value by more than a predetermined amount, outputting a second code and a difference between the third and fourth values if the fourth value does not exceed the third value by more than the predetermined amount, and outputting the fifth value and the sixth value if the sixth value exceeds the fifth value by a predefined number.

18) 6,944,609 Search results using editor feedback

Abstract

A method for producing a results list for a search query includes producing a first results list of entries from a search algorithm, the first results list corresponding to a term in the search query, the first results list being ordered according to relevance rankings, modifying a feature of the first results lists by an editor, the modification being made according to an editorial rule, determining a reliability score for the editor, the reliability score being based upon the modification made the editor, combining the modification made by the editor in a combined search index, the combined modification being included in the combined search index according to the determined reliability of the editor, and using the combined search index to produce a second results list which corresponds to the term in the search query, the second results list being ordered according to relevance rankings.

19) 6,775,664 Information filter system and method for integrated content-based and collaborative/adaptive feedback queries

Abstract

A search engine system is provided for a portal site on the internet. The search engine system employs a regular search engine to make one-shot or demand searches for information entities which provide at least threshold matches to user queries.

The search engine system also employs a collaborative/content-based filter to make continuing searches for information entities which match existing wire queries and are ranked and stored over time in user-accessible, system wires corresponding to the respective queries.

A user feedback system provides collaborative feedback data for integration with content profile data in the operation of the collaborative/content-based filter. A query processor determines whether a demand search or a wire search is made for an input query.

20) 6,775,661 Querying databases using database pools

Abstract

Querying databases includes receiving a query for information, the query including a common identifier for a plurality of collections of data and indicating whether a result of the query may include a null result, searching each of the collections of data for the information, and considering a speed of each of the collections of data in performing the searching.

21) 6,742,176 Secure flexible plugin software architecture

Abstract

A secure flexible plugin architecture allows plugins to dynamically interconnect in highly flexible arrangements to permit the handling of many kinds of file formats. Interconnection is self-administered through a supervised volunteer system.

In a media player example, the system is capable of handling files with multiple layers of formatting such as encryption, compression, etc.

The resource selection is completely transparent and a user need not be concerned about the packaging of resource files. A security mechanism that is enforced at the level of the plugins is also provided. Plugins can opt in or out depending on the other components in the dynamically generated chain of plugins used to filter or convert a file.

22) 6,701,309 Method and system for collecting related queries

Abstract

A method for collecting related queries, comprising the steps of obtaining a first query and a second query that have been submitted during a search for data, and determining whether the first query and the second query have a likelihood of being submitted by a class of searcher.

23) 6,640,218 Estimating the usefulness of an item in a collection of information

Abstract

A measure of the usefulness of an item in a collection of information with respect to a first set of one or more criteria is determined.

A first measure of the usefulness of the item with respect to the first set of criteria is determined.

A measure of the quality of the item is determined. A second measure of usefulness based on the first measure of usefulness and the measure of quality is determined.

24) 6,314,420 Collaborative/adaptive search engine

Abstract

A search engine system is provided for a portal site on the internet. The search engine system employs a regular search engine to make one-shot or demand searches for information entities which provide at least threshold matches to user queries.

The search engine system also employs a collaborative/content-based filter to make continuing searches for information entities which match existing wire queries and are ranked and stored over time in user-accessible, system wires corresponding to the respective queries.

A user feedback system provides collaborative feedback data for integration with content profile data in the operation of the collaborative/content-based filter. A query processor determines whether a demand search or a wire search is made for an input query.

25) 6,308,175 Integrated collaborative/content-based filter structure employing selectively shared, content-based profile data to evaluate information entities in a massive information network

Abstract

An information processing system employs an integrated collaborative/content-based information filter structure to find network informons relevant to information desired by an individual user.

The filter structure includes a three-level content-based filter which preprocesses informons in a first level to pass only relevant informons, applies community filters in a second level to pass relevant informons to matching communities of users, and applies in a bottom level user filters within each community to pass relevant informons to matching users.

Collaborative filtering is integrated with content-based filtering through agent mind melding by which content profile data used in the content-based filtering is formed from a merger of an individual-user or member client data profile and any similar data profiles of other users or other member clients.

A threshold level of similarity is required an other-user data profile to be classified as similar for merger with the individual-user data profile.

26) 6,029,161 Multi-level mindpool system especially adapted to provide collaborative filter data for a large scale information filtering system

Abstract

A mindpool system develops collaboration informon rating data for use in filtering informons for a current user of a filter system.

A plurality of commonly characterized user nodes are arranged in a 3-level heirarchical structure. Users input informon rating data to the bottom nodes.

A mindpool manager system routes rating data received for an informon in any one user node to other user nodes in any node level according to selected criteria.

This system distributes the rating data to selected users through bottom level nodes for use in filtering operations subsequently performed for the selected users.

A common user characteristic applied to user nodes is increasingly generalized with upward node location and is increasingly detailed with downward node location. A mindpool manager operates for each user node to determine routings of the informon rating data to other user nodes.

The mindpool system has a plurality of the heirarchical user node structures, with each operated for a specific informon rating purpose, such as quality.

The mindpool is embodied in a filter structure having a content-based filter containing content profile data for an individual user and generating informon profile data representing information in a network sourced informon.

The filter structure integrates the operation of the mindpool system and the content-based filter by combining the informon profile data, the content profile data, and received collaboration user rating data corresponding to the network informon to determine a value of the network informon to the individual user.

27) 6,012,053 Computer system with user-controlled relevance ranking of search results

Abstract

A computer system for performing searches on a collection of information includes a mechanism through which results from a search query are ranked according to user specified relevance factors to allow the user to control how the search results are presented.

The relevance factors are applied to the results achieved for each query.

That is, each item returned by the search has a set of attributes.

Each of these attributes is assigned a weight according to the specified relevance factors.

These weights are combined to provide a score for the item. Search results are provided to the user, ordered according to scores.

The application of the relevance factors does not alter the query performed on the collection of information.

28) 5,983,214 System and method employing individual user content-based data and user collaborative feedback data to evaluate the content of an information entity in a large information communication network

Abstract

An information entity rating system includes a content subsystem having a structured data sub-subsystem and an unstructured data sub-subsystem.

The content subsystem receives content-based profile data for an information entity and separately processes structured and unstructured data to combine content-based profile data for an individual system user with the content-based profile data for the information entity to determine computed rating functions indicating structured and unstructured content-based value of the information entity to the user. A collaboration subsystem receives collaborative input data for the information entity and for processes the collaborative input data to determine at least one computed collaborative rating function indicating a collaboration-based value of the information entity to the user.

A correlation subsystem receives data from the content subsystem and from the collaboration subsystem to determine exceptions to the computed rating functions on the basis of comparisons of data included in the content-based and collaboration data and to generate an exception data value function indicating an opposing value to at least one of the content-based and collaboration values. An output system combines the structured content-based. unstructured content-based, and collaboration-based value functions, and the exception data value function in generating an output rating predictor of the informon for consideration by the user.

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6 thoughts on “Lycos to Sell Off Patents?”

  1. I think the writing is on the wall for software patents here in the US, and Lycos may be smartly unloading them before they lose their value. With the recent rulings regarding patent trolls and lawmakers finally turning an eye on the shenanigans that these trolls have used to waste our administrative time and money, I’m crossing my fingers that we may soon see an end to the ridiculousness. Good riddance.

  2. Hi Rod,

    Lycos will probably not be launching a search engine at any point in the near future, and there may still be value to them in selling these It’s not a question of the value of software patents; rather the only value other than a sale might be in suing someone who might be using something similar. I think the idea behind a sale is a good one. I agree about the ridiculousness of how software patents are being treated.

  3. Hi Bill,

    Another good read you have here. To be honest, I already forgot about Lycos as a search engine. With Google being a massive force, I am quite sure that netizens today have tiny bits of information or memory about Lycos. Anyway, them selling their patents is a bit drastic yet logical move. Considering the fact that they are inactive for several years now, I still think it’s a waste for them to sell what’s left of them. But if its for the good in the future and if they are trying to resurface with a different style or approach, then this move is surely pointing in the right path.

  4. Hi Cathy,

    They still are alive, but look like they will be doing some new things. It will be interesting seeing what those end up being.

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