Bing Search Engine Idea Stolen Claims Lawsuit
According to the US AD Age magazine, a company called Denizen is alleging that JWT stole its technique of blending a TV show’s content and characters into advertising for NBC’s ‘The Philanthropist.’ Denizen, which calls itself an “innovator in advertising” for its method of “program-integrated advertisement,” says in its suit that starting in 2002 it was in contact with London-based WPP and top executives at the holding company such as Mark Read and Peter Tortorici to discuss possible business ventures, including partnerships with WPP’s media agencies.
Commercials for Bing were filmed on-set using actors from the show, which made its debut this summer and stars James Purefoy and Neve Campbell. The Bing-themed ads appeared between the TV programming and regular commercial breaks.
Microsoft called on JWT to handle the estimated $100 million Bing ad account earlier this year as part of the software giant’s quest to gain market share from search behemoth Google.
Denizen claims its business has been damaged and it has suffered a loss of potential customers. The company didn’t state a dollar figure but said it is seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages because it claims WPP’s acts were “malicious and willful.” Denizen also wants restitution for legal fees, investigative costs and any profits JWT gained from creating the campaign.