There is a patent troll trying to get a number of websites to pay a license for a search that results in an image with text describing that image. The main claim might be roughly paraphrased as: A logo is linked to each item of displayable text and an output list is produced in which each text item includes a displayable graphical image.

The actual claim 1 is:

  1. A computerized apparatus configured to identify commercial suppliers in response to a keyword, the computerized apparatus comprising:

    an input module arranged to receive an input keyword;

    a searching module configured to search a database indexed with respect to keywords to identify text items related to the input keyword for display, each text item regarding one commercial supplier of a plurality of commercial suppliers;

    an image store for storing graphical images, the graphical images provided to the image store independent of the text items related to the input keyword being identified, each graphical image identifying or being associated with one of the commercial suppliers, wherein each graphical image is linked with a respective one of the identified text items to form a respective stored results entry, the stored results entry in use being arranged to present the text item and the graphical image for simultaneous display; and

    a server configured to supply data defining a displayable list of the stored results entries that include the text items related to the input keyword and the graphical images linked thereto, such that when the displayable list of the stored results entries is displayed, a user may readily identify a desired commercial supplier from the displayable list of stored results entries, based upon the graphical image of each stored results entry.

For example, if I searched "camera" results would show Canon Camera with a photo of a canon camera. It can be either a local or web database.

The patent is from 2001 so I am trying to find prior art to show that this was not "novel" even at the time it was filed. I'm looking for screenshots because its hard to get search results for a Wayback machine.


  • Some things already considered by the examiner include:US20060080306 Nov 16, 2005 Corbis Corporation "Method and system for obtaining images from a database having images that are relevant to indicated text" and US5982369 Apr 21, 1997 Nov 9, 1999 Sony Corporation Sony Electronics, Inc. "Method for displaying on a screen of a computer system images representing search results" and many others listed in the front page of the patent.
    – George White
    Feb 24, 2013 at 5:43
  • The USPTO application has a "Foreign Application date" May 24, 2000 GB 0012668.0 which I assume is the priority date?
    – Ron J.
    Feb 24, 2013 at 14:33
  • This application is a national stage of a PCT application filed in May of 2001. It looks like the PCT application claims priority from two UK applications, one in May of 2000 nd one in Jan of 2001. It may be that some claims are supported by the earlier filing and others not fully suported until the second filing. One would need to read them all to be sure.
    – George White
    Feb 24, 2013 at 17:46
  • This is not an answer, but I find the claims 18 and 19 interesting: 18. The method according to claim 11, further comprising recording a charge to at least one of the commercial suppliers in response to a user making contact with the at least one commercial supplier as a consequence of receiving details of a search.; and 19. The method according to claim 11, further comprising ranking each textual item in a search with respect to a bid value associated with the textual item, the bid value provided by the commercial supplier associated with each textual item.
    – Ron J.
    Feb 26, 2013 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


I've seen this before; Girafa sued Yahoo and Google on a similar patent:


Note that the patent has an earlier provisional filing in December 1999 which would beat these folks' date. Basically the "commercial suppliers" in this patent would be anyone selling someone on the Internet back in 1999; the Girafa patent talks about serving up a website thumbnail with the search results, so that the user could see immediately which result went with what image.

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