Two nights ago, I contacted both Marvel Comics and ComiXology regarding a story I intended to run, regarding Disney/Marvel's granted patent on technology that looks very much like ComiXology's patent pending Guided View.
Yesterday, after the article ran, I was told by ComiXology employees, that Marvel staffers had come by their offices for an unplanned meeting.
I'd like to think that it was to assure ComiXology that they have no plans to pursue that patent right now, as it applies to Guided View. But, to be frank, I have no idea one way or another. But it might have just been to arrange their inter-company baseball match on a whim.
Marvel did not choose to comment, and ComiXology did not return emails.
I'm told by one ex-Marvel source that a guided view system was invented for Marvel back in 2000-2001, by one John T Roberts for their dotComics line, spearheaded by Bill Jemas but then abandoned. He left to become the co-founder and CTO of ComiXology.
In other related news, it has been pointed out to me by George Gatsis that Dark Horse's work on The Mask in the nineties might blow any such patent out of the water if it were challenged, and defend their own reading experience on the Dark Horse Digital App. And even Gatsis' own work may do the job.
I was also advised that ComiXology could strike the patent down… but in doing so ensure that no one could get a patent on such technology.
However, and this is where things get really interesting, Bleeding Cool was far from the first to notice this granted patent. I understand that Michaelk Murphy of iVerse, who used to be big in comics digital distribution until ComiXology stole a march on them, has been developing a new ComicsPlus App designed to neatly sidestep this patent and provide a digital comics experience that relies on new technology.
Could this be the revival of iVerse? Could they sponsor next year's pedicabs at San Diego instead?