DoubleClick Sued by Online Ad Rival

FRAMINGHAM (05/05/2000) - Picking a legal fight with the top dog in the online advertising business, Internet media firm 24/7 Media Inc. today announced that it's suing DoubleClick Inc. for alleged patent infringement.

24/7 Media, which filed the suit in U.S. District Court in New York, said it's seeking unspecified monetary damages as well as an injunction that would bar DoubleClick from further infringement. Both companies are based in New York.

The lawsuit centers on an enabling technology for DoubleClick's DART ad serving system, which gears certain advertisements toward targeted Internet users. 24/7 Media claimed the technology is subject to a patent it holds called "On-Line Interactive System and Method for Providing Content and Advertising Information to a Targeted Set of Viewers."

Elizabeth Wang, vice president and general counsel at DoubleClick, said in a statement that the company hasn't seen 24/7 Media's complaint yet. "However, based on our initial review of the patent, we believe that any claim of infringement would be baseless," Wang said. "We will defend ourselves vigorously."

The suit comes three months after the Federal Trade Commission, acting after privacy groups criticized DoubleClick's information-collection methods, launched an informal probe of a plan by the company to develop a national database of information about Internet users.

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