Web Mapping Patents

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Multimap.com was awarded patents in 2000 and 2001 related to making maps on the Internet. The patent filed in 1996 claims rights to the technology described as:

“A map of the area of a client computer (10) is requested from a map server (11). Information relating to a place of interest is requested from an information server (12) by the client computer (10). The information is superimposed or overlaid on a map image at a position on the map image corresponding to the location of the place of interest on the map. The information (or “overlay”) server (12) may contain details of, for example, hotels, restaurants, shops or the like, associated with the geographical coordinates of each location. The map server (11) contains map data, including coordinate data representing the spatial coordinates of at least one point on the area represented by the map.”

Back in March of 2002, a discussion came up on the MapServer-users list about this patent after a company was facing legal challenge from Multimap.com. Several examples of prior art were raised at the time, for the full discussion, look for the messages titled "Patent Challenge" in the mapserver-users list archives

In 2007, Multimap was bought by Microsoft, and it would seem that more recently Microsoft has started selling licenses of its patent.

SystèmeD has a very interesting blog entry on this topic which led to the creation of this wiki entry. Since it seems that the Multimap patent is coming back to life despite a large amount of prior art, we'll use this page to compile various sources of information, links to articles and other sources of prior art related to the patent.

Blogs and News

Articles and examples of prior art