This patent would mark Local's 10th issued patent. Patent #8,306,208, which covers Enhanced Directory Assistance (EDA), describes a method and/or system whereby pay-per-call advertiser listings are provided to consumers in response to directory assistance inquiries. Local stated in its press release that the company believes the patent has broad applications as it may apply to voice, text or other methods such as voice-to-text or the emerging automated voice assistance/voice search methods that are now commonly used on the latest smartphones. So the next time you use your mobile phone to look up a phone number and then press click to dial, or the next time you call directory assistance from you mobile phone, the way you receive the phone number or get your response may involve Local's patent.
This is an important development and it's huge for two reasons. As a leader in local mobile advertising, Local can directly and immediately monetize this IP through its operating business that is generating $100 million in revenues this year. Secondly, if any other company infringes on any part of this patent, then Local potentially has a court case to collect a settlement or to get licensing fees.
Companies that have put a focus on monetizing their IP either just through the courts, or the through the courts and through their operations, are winning either through the courts with cash judgments, or through an uptick in their valuations.
Perhaps the most visible and recent example involving internet search advertising is the U.S. District Court case in Norfolk, which just last week entered its official judgment in favor of Vringo ($VRNG), confirming the November 6th Jury award in the AOL ($AOL), Google ( $GOOG ) et al case. The judgment upholds Vringo's victory of $30 million plus ongoing 3.5% royalties from Google for internet search advertising.
Apple ( $AAPL ) also won a $1 billion judgement against Samsung in August for mobile phone IP . VirnetX ($VHC) won a $368 million case against Apple for mobile phone IP and also won $106 million from Microsoft ($MSFT) for virtual private network technology.