AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON Publishing data items related to an event of interest to a user - This application from Ebay seeks to patent the idea of...Determining a news event, identifying data items associated with the determined news event, and publishing the identified data items online! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 10/22/2009 that discusses:

  • Determining data items related to an event of interest to a user

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - A sample list of events may include elections, wars or conflicts, debates, movie premiers, movie times, sporting events, conventions, celestial events, anniversaries of events, or other media events. The data items may be in the form of item listings, links, advertisements for products or services, etc.

TITLE: Publishing data items related to an event of interest

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] Determining a news event based on a recent increase in interest of a user, identifying data items related to the determined news event, and presenting the relationship between the news event and the identified data items to the user.

  • Publication Number: US 20120197752 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/440,865
  • Assignee: Ebay
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 10/22/2009
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through 1/29/2013
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method comprising:

  1. Determining, using one or more processors, a news event of a plurality of news events, the news event corresponding to a recent increase in user interest above a baseline user interest;

  2. Identifying one or more listings from a plurality of listings as matching the news event associated with the user interest, wherein the one or more listings include search results retrieved in response to a search query from a user; and

  3. Presenting, to the user, a visual representation of a relationship between the news event and the one or more listings such that the one or more listings are displayed as visually related to the news event.

In English this means:

A method comprising:

  1. Determining a news event related to a recent increase in interest of a user;

  2. Identifying a list of data items matching the determined news event,

    • the identified list of data items includes search results retrieved in response to a search query from the user; and
  3. Displaying a relationship between the list of data items and the determined news event to the user.

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 10/22/2009

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming An event of interest to a user is determined based on change in frequency of search queries related to a search category.

"Publishing data items related to an event of interest to a user" from the Applicant

What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.

  • What about Google? If you perform a search for an ongoing event you will get live coverage provided by Google News. Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 21:45
  • Thanks for participating - A Google reference sounds plausible - the most useful result for the USPTO examiner is specific, cite-able evidence of someone having done all of the steps in the method claim (1. Determining, 2. Identifying, 3. Presenting) prior to 10/29/99. For example, a press article about Google having done this, and the citation to that article on the Waybackmachine could be helpful. Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 22:21
  • Also, whatever you find, please submit it as an answer below rather than a comment so it is more likely to be seen by the USPTO. Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 22:22
  • So as I understand it what is claimed to be special is that a search returns two results, one regular result and one based on news sources. The news sources should be about current events that are of high interest to people using that search term. So if I search "frozen pipes" I should get news items about the current cold weather.
    – Elin
    Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 16:14
  • Yes, that's the basic idea. The overall thrust of the invention can be seen in subsequent dependent claims. eBay claims to have invented detecting news events by looking for anomalous query statistics (an example might be detecting flu season by looking for increased "flu"-related queries) and displaying other results specifically related to the news event along with the news result for these queries, even more specifically displaying items for sale along with the news result. Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


One possibility may be the Northern Light search engine. This was a publicly available search engine for a few years from the mid 1990s to early 2000s. There are also a number of patents related to Northern Light.

Here are some excerpt from the summary here Search Engine Show Down Review

Databases: The main search screen searches both their large database of Web pages and their Special Collection. The Special Collection database includes records from over 7,100 publications including records from Special Collection includes MarkIntel, Find/SVP, WEFA, and Investext reports. The most recent two weeks of theirs news wires are available in a Current News tab. Their Special Editions link has selected publications organized, sorted, and available for free on popular topics.

Today the company still has a major product focused on "marketing intelligence" based on news so I think this was an important aspect of the search.

These additional links may be relevant Description of Northern Light published in Database 21(1):32-37, Feb.-Mar. 1998 according to note at the bottom. Current text on former public site Description of NL in 1995/96

2007 search related patent held by David Suess of Northern Light


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