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Facebook Patents the News Feed

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the hope-for-narrow-focus dept.

Patents 96

daedae writes "It seems Facebook has been granted a patent for the news feed, as a method of monitoring activities, storing them in a database, and displaying an appropriate set of activities to an appropriate set of users. 'That sounds pretty broad, and the social-networking world was all atwitter at the possible ramifications. Writing for ReadWriteWeb, Marshall Kirkpatrick proclaimed, "This could be very big. ... MySpace, Flickr, Yahoo, Twitter (?), the sharing part of Google Reader, and even Google Buzz — do all of these sites have technology at the center of their social experiences that falls under this new patent of Facebook's?" The patent may not be that broad. Nick O'Neill at the All Facebook blog wrote that the patent doesn't appear to cover status updates as used by Twitter. "It appears that this patent surrounds implicit actions. This means status updates, which is what Twitter is based on, are not part of this patent. ... Instead, this is about stories about the actions of a user's friends. While still significant, the implications for competing social networks may be less substantial," O'Neill wrote.'"

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where and order by (2, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290600)

Here's the patent info [uspto.gov] .

There are existing mechanisms that allow a user to display information about other users. Some mechanisms may allow the user to select particular news items for immediate viewing. Typically, however, these news items are disparate and disorganized. In other words, the user must spend time researching a news topic by searching for, identifying, and reading individual news items that are not presented in a coherent, consolidated manner. Often, many of the news are not relevant to the user. Just as often, the user remains unaware of the existence of some news items that were not captured in the user's research. What is needed is an automatically generated display that contains information relevant to a user about another user of a social network.

So what they invented is a couple of WHERE and ORDER BY clauses in a sql query based on what the algorithm thinks is relevant to the user?

Sounds like this is the second coming of Einstein.

Re:where and order by (1)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290640)

im sure its a little more involved. they didnt invent sql

Re:where and order by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31290644)

You post has been processed and stored. The activity to be displayed is: "Mods: Mod parent Karma Whore (Troll)".

Re:where and order by (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290708)

There are existing mechanisms that allow a user to display information about other users. Some mechanisms may allow the user to select particular news items for immediate viewing. Typically, however, these news items are disparate and disorganized. In other words, the user must spend time researching a news topic by searching for, identifying, and reading individual news items that are not presented in a coherent, consolidated manner. Often, many of the news are not relevant to the user. Just as often, the user remains unaware of the existence of some news items that were not captured in the user's research. What is needed is an automatically generated display that contains information relevant to a user about another user of a social network.

Is it just me or are the parts I emphasized here simply describing how facebook works?

Having news presented to me sorted by what order my "friends" happened to stumble upon it seems quite "disparate and disorganized" to me.

Re:where and order by (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291610)

That's because ideas in your mind are sorted by category and relation to other ideas. If ideas in your mind were sorted by which friend they're releavnt to, then Facebook would appear to you to be a perfect and unequaled model of organizational purity.

Now, think about how a 16-year-old girl's mind works.

Re:where and order by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31292224)

Wrong, your brain is a series of encapsulated data connected by various nodes on a graph with very weak to very strong path preferences. It's a lot like the WWW.

Re:where and order by (1)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290726)

Yet again, it would appear that the US patent system is being used to stifle competition, as opposed to stimulating innovation.

And here I was, thinking the patent application I submitted while interning at IBM which was a new ways of providing recommendations to users was actually a good idea. It's apparent to me now which of these two patents was clearly more original.

Re:where and order by (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290790)

a sql query based on what the algorithm thinks is relevant to the user?

not "user"... it's "user of a social network". TOTALLY different. there is obvious prior art showing this for general "users"... facebook's new INVENTION applies the concept in a proprietary process to "users of social network". where is the shame for the investors that are probably stuck $100k on fees and salary to get this filed?

Re:where and order by (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291170)

You missed when you did your copy-and-paste. Here's what you should have quoted:

1. A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

Re:where and order by (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291584)

Can someone turn that into English? I'm trying to figure out how the hell reading news about someone allows me to participate "in the same activity as the another user".

As far as I can tell, what this patent means is that if my friend sets his status to "brb getting stoned" and there's a news article about a drug bust, I'll be invited to the address of the bust so I can get arrested too.

Re:where and order by (3, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291990)

Can someone turn that into English?

No, not really. That's kind of the point. Claim language has very specific meaning, both within the field of patent law, and within the patent itself. You can't just summarize a claim and say, "well, that's the gist of it," because every single word has an effect on the scope of the claim. If this patent is ever litigated, the parties will spend months and tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars fighting over the definitions of "social network environment, " "news item," and "link." The entire case can hinge on the definition of a single word, and I have seen courts hand down some surprising (and vexing) claim constructions.

So basically, any advice you get from Slashdot armchair lawyers on what these claims "really mean" isn't worth the electrons it's printed on.

Re:where and order by (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31317828)

the parties will spend months and tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars fighting over the definitions....

You have just made an important part of the argument for why software patents shouldn't be allowed in the first place, to say nothing of dubious patents in other fields. Such patents cause a net decrease in human health and welfare. The social costs are far greater than the benefits. We could do better by paying software patent attorneys to dig holes in the ground and cover them back up again.

Re:where and order by (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31323670)

No, I've actually just described the reality of patents in general---it has nothing to do with them being software patents. You can argue that we shouldn't have patents at all, but you would be in such a minority that you would be very unlikely to effect any kind of real change.

Re:where and order by (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326730)

I said an important part of the argument against software patents, whose other pernicious features make that a cost particularly not worth bearing.

And frankly, if you don't understand what is wrong with software patents in particular, I wonder what planet you have been living on for the last decade. Virtually every software company in the country agrees that they cause more harm than good. For most of them, it is all just a (very expensive) game of mutually assured destruction. For most the rest, it is just a game of manipulating the legal system for private gain, patenting "inventions" that nearly every software engineer in the world thinks are rudimentary implementations of standard engineering practice, in some marginally different field of enterprise.

Government grants of twenty year monopolies for "methods" that any intelligent sixth grader could come up with sums up much of the software patent industry. Buying something with one click? Surely that ranks with Edison and Einstein.

Re:where and order by (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31331258)

The only substantive argument I've seen from you so far is that obvious patents are bad, which has nothing to do with whether software is or should be statutory subject matter. And guess what---I heartily agree with you. Obvious patents are bad. In fact, when I was in law school, I wrote a comment for our law review about improving section 103 by abandoning TSM as "the" test for obviousness and instead adopting a more flexible fact-intensive inquiry, with some presumptions in favor of obviousness in certain cases. I never submitted it for publication, because about that time, the Supreme Court decided KSR and adopted my proposed test almost exactly. Presumably, there are a number of patents that would have been upheld under TSM that will be overturned under KSR. In the meantime, the USPTO under Dudas went hog wild with KSR and starting rejecting applications willy nilly over completely unrelated art as long as it looked like maybe it disclosed some of the claim elements. Nobody who prosecuted patents under the Dudas regime could keep a straight face while making the argument you've made in another thread that prior art is considered too narrowly. Fortunately, Kappos seems to be bringing some sanity back to the USPTO---somewhere between the old TSM and Dudas' KSR++.

Re:where and order by (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31336348)

The primary argument against whether software patents should be statutory is economic, not legal in nature. i.e. all things considered they cause more harm than good. There is an enormous amount of evidence to that effect - tens of billions of dollars in expenses every year with no evidence that there is actually a net benefit to anyone except the patent bar.

What the News Feed is (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292922)

If I'm reading the summary correctly, it's about building this kind of list:

- Alice became a fan of Wonderland. [Become a fan of Wonderland]
- Bob just won an apple in the Halloween tournament. [Play Halloween]
- Carol is attending the Yadayada concert [RSVP]
- Dave and Ellie are now friends
- Frances joined the group, "I Hate Software Patents" [Join "I Hate Software Patents"]
- Greg commented on Hayden's status. [Read comment]

Probably a key element in it is trying to make the list relevant enough to the user that they'll want to click on the "Become a fan of..." or "Play..." or "RSVP..." links.

Re:What the News Feed is (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31294294)

Sigh... the entire point of posting one of the claims from the patent is to dissuade people from trying to interpret things other than the claims when explaining what the patent covers. Yet you're interpreting the summary, which is already an interpretation of parts of the patent document other than the claims.

The claims are what matters when you're talking about what a patent covers. Everything else is there to allow the patentee to fulfill their end of the bargain of disclosing their invention in exchange for exclusive rights to make and use it.

Re:What the News Feed is (1)

Philip_the_physicist (1536015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31296444)

The best I can do is:

  1. watching what happens in the system, and storing some or all of the events in a DB
  2. generating the messages for some or all of those events
  3. some or all of these messages are to be used to be displayed to users, showing what one or more other users have done
  4. making a list of who is allowed to see the collection of news items (presumably, in an item by item basis, otherwise the design is pretty odd)
  5. displaying items from that list to one or more of the people on the other list

This isn't overly broad, although it is pretty obvious now, it might have been rather less obvious when you consider the subsidiary claims, and anything about the selection, and it may have been less obvious when the patent was applied for.

my name is ASS POS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291196)

and only get my fr0sty p1sses by cheating.

Re:where and order by (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291296)

We're in a death-spiral where all companies patent everything, because everybody else is doing it. Welcome to government sanctioned anti-competition.

Re:where and order by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291980)

This is one component of a larger death-spiral. The problem is that the head has been cut off the beast, and its limbs and organs are slowly dying.

- Patent system
- Healthcare system
- Military interventions
- Constitutional violations
- Corrupt officials
- Spending without limit
- No oversight of results for money spent
- Increasingly irrational tax code
- Decreasing ability to compete internationally

These are all symptoms of the larger problem, which is that nobody's in the wheelhouse any more - nobody is setting direction, enforcing policies, setting limits of what's permitted, etc. In short, there's no functioning leadership.

When the head died, the rest of the beast kept running pretty much on inertia. But there's no longer any central plan or any coordination between the various elements. Over time, random effects cause them to start pulling in different directions, until they eventually tear themselves to shreds. We are near the end-game of this.

I'm not sure when the head died. Maybe it was on some spectacular day like November 22, 1963 or August 8, 1974. Maybe it was in a quiet back-room on July 11, 1979 or February 2, 1983. But in any case this is not a new thing, it's been dead for a long time. It's just that the beast is so large, it takes a long time for it to start coming apart.

We may already have crossed the point of no return, in which case the final result is constitutional crisis, fracture, and years of war, famine and plague; the recent example of this is the USSR. It's possible that we could still reboot and restart, but nobody seems to be actively trying very hard.

Re:where and order by (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291806)

So what they invented is a couple of WHERE and ORDER BY clauses in a sql query based on what the algorithm thinks is relevant to the user?

Maybe it's the algorithm part that's different here and not the SQL?

Re:where and order by (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31292006)

This description sounds like they patented /.

Re:where and order by (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292032)

> Sounds like this is the second coming of Einstein.

He's gone around the universe already?

The real funny meat of the article! (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290658)

FTFA: Bajarin agrees that the patent is yet another sign of the need for patent reform. "This is one of those disappointing actions by the patent department and demonstrates their weakness when it comes to technology," Bajarin said. "It is not clear that Facebook actually invented anything unique or proprietary in order to get this patent. They used open-source code, namely JavaScript, which is open and free and created a process by leveraging existing technology."

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (2, Insightful)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290844)

They used open-source code, namely JavaScript, which is open and free and created a process by leveraging existing technology

more importantly they created a process that others had also already created. every corporate intranet i've built since 1999 has had similar functionality.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291164)

Well, could and should Sun yank the rug from under their feet?

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290892)

As a minimum Google Buzz and Twitter strike me as clearly violating this patent.

Facebook would probably not try to exercise this patent outside of their narrow sphere. The problem comes when they sell this to some patent troll who uses it to try to shut down the next big thing that comes along.

Combined with a couple dozen different patents it presents the appearance of an insurmountable roadblock, even if several of the pieces are fluff patents.

Even if we can't knock some sense into the patent office and expect them to find every existing example, we can extract a pound of flesh from those that apply for patents already in common usage, by imposing mind numbingly sever financial penalties for failing to mention and dispose of existing art in common usage at the time of application.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (2, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291220)

Twitter doesn't do anything like this. It just gives you a flat view from the people you follow, and lets you manually search using hand-entered search terms.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (2, Insightful)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291318)

>> As a minimum Google Buzz and Twitter strike me
>> as clearly violating this patent.

Where does Buzz or Twitter automatically generate news items based on the activities of other users and include a link so that you can also participate in those activities?

This basically patents the part I hate the most about Facebook. Stupid updates about people feeding the Aquarium Fish or playing Mafia Wars and a link so you can play, too. If this stops other social media sites/apps from adding these stupid games and just sticking to status updates, links, pictures, etc., I'm all for it. I'll switch to one of them, eventually.

-John

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (2, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291532)

Where does Buzz or Twitter automatically generate news items based on the activities of other users and include a link so that you can also participate in those activities?

Not used Buzz yet I see...

http://answers.oreilly.com/topic/1069-google-buzz-5-things-you-need-to-know/ [oreilly.com]

Maybe no so much for Twitter, but Buzz can generate "news items" form a variety of your other google services, and allow others to see and comment upon them.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291710)

No, I hadn't looked into Buzz that much. It does sound closer to violating the patent, though, if it also matches all of the other claims. I'm sure they (Google/Buzz) can get by saying they don't match one or two of them.

-John

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (3, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292254)

As a minimum Google Buzz and Twitter strike me as clearly violating this patent.

Really? I bill tens of hours carefully picking over the specification, the claims, the prosecution history, and the prior art before I ever give my clients an opinion like that, and I never use the word "clearly." "Likely" is about the strongest commitment you'll get, because you don't really know until you've taken the thing to trial and exhausted your appeals.

The problem comes when they sell this to some patent troll who uses it to try to shut down the next big thing that comes along.

Why would they do that if it's as valuable as you think it is?

Even if we can't knock some sense into the patent office and expect them to find every existing example, we can extract a pound of flesh from those that apply for patents already in common usage, by imposing mind numbingly sever financial penalties for failing to mention and dispose of existing art in common usage at the time of application.

Patent applicants and their attorneys are already required to disclose to the patent office any relevant prior art that they're aware of (look up "inequitable conduct"). The penalty for failing to do so is a void patent. If a patentee intentionally held back prior art and then sued a competitor on the bad patent, the trial court could very easily award stiff sanctions. There is absolutely no incentive for holding back known art. Patent attorneys are paranoid about this. If anything, we err far on the side of disclosing stuff that's only marginally relevant rather than be found to have held back prior art. I myself have withdrawn (on the client's instructions) applications that had already been allowed so that we could submit art that we weren't even sure was relevant.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31317906)

There is absolutely no incentive for holding back known art.

If the quality of the software patents granted over the past decade is any indication, patent attorneys have such a narrow definition of "prior art" as to render the term meaningless.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31323774)

Then give me an example. Give me a patent number, tell me which references were disclosed in the IDS, and then point me to a reference that is material to the allowed claims and should have been disclosed that wasn't. And then for good measure, explain to me why the attorney and/or applicant should have been aware of the reference they failed to disclose.

I'm not saying there are bad patents---software or otherwise---but by and large, patent attorneys will submit any piece of art that comes anywhere close to their eyes. They want those references on the face of the patent, because in litigation, it is very, very difficult to overturn a patent on a reference that appears on the face of the patent.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31326860)

You have not addressed my argument, which is that the patent bar has established a sufficiently narrow definition of prior art as to render the term virtually meaningless.

Any software engineer with a reasonable history in the field could cite more sophisticated implementations of the same sort of technology that Facebook just patented going back decades. Every modern publish and subscribe messaging platform on the planet is far more sophisticated, for example.

But lo and behold, add the term "social networking" to the application, and now none of that is relevant. It is no longer "prior art", due to a trivial change of target audience. Nothing new has actually been invented here (far from it), just a new application for what in software engineering terms is ancient technology. Granting patents for such things is perverse. Ultimately, it makes all of us worse off, and the software patent industry a wart on the body politic, the sooner excised the better. Ambulance chasers look positively respectable by comparison.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31331050)

You have not addressed my argument, which is that the patent bar has established a sufficiently narrow definition of prior art as to render the term virtually meaningless.

Actually, I have. In fact, I addressed your argument before you even made it. You just aren't listening. I have told you that the patent attorneys I know (including me) will submit anything even remotely or tangentially related to the claims. There is no incentive to try to be clever and look at prior art narrowly. It just weakens your patent. And I doubt that you've ever even read an office action that rejects claims over prior art, much less responded to one. So I'm guessing you don't really know what you're talking about. You've just drunk deeply of the Slashdot kool-aid, so now you "know" that software patents are bad, without (going out on a limb here) having so much as ever read a patent all the way through, or made any attempt to understand the claims. Actually, with your UID as low as it is, you probably mixed the Slashdot kool-aid. But that still doesn't mean you know what you're talking about.

Any software engineer with a reasonable history in the field could cite more sophisticated implementations of the same sort of technology that Facebook just patented going back decades. Every modern publish and subscribe messaging platform on the planet is far more sophisticated, for example.

Then give me a citation, and tell me how it anticipates or makes obvious each and every limitation of the claims, because the title has absolutely no legal significance. I've litigated a patent with the title "Headphoning," but guess what---the patent did not purport to cover any and all headphones. Only the claims matter.

And I'm serious here. For all I know, this could be a lousy patent. There certainly are such things. I haven't looked at the prior art, and I've only glanced over the independent claims. Maybe there's a killer reference the examiner should have looked at. But your sweeping and unsupported statement that prior art is considered too narrowly is in stark contrast to my actual experience prosecuting patents. So if you want to convince me, you're going to have to show me an example of what you're talking about.

But lo and behold, add the term "social networking" to the application, and now none of that is relevant. It is no longer "prior art", due to a trivial change of target audience. Nothing new has actually been invented here (far from it), just a new application for what in software engineering terms is ancient technology. Granting patents for such things is perverse. Ultimately, it makes all of us worse off, and the software patent industry a wart on the body politic, the sooner excised the better. Ambulance chasers look positively respectable by comparison.

And once again, an angry Slashdotter completely misses the entire point of a patent---this is not a patent on "news feed in a social networking application." This is a patent on the claims, which I believe I already adequately explained elsewhere. Come back and talk to me again after you've read the file wrapper (which you can get from the USPTO's website---look for PAIR) and figured out which prior art was ignored that should have been considered.

As for your clever little barb about ambulance chasers, sure, I'll good-naturedly give plaintiffs' attorneys a hard time too, since I'm usually on the other side. But let some big, monied corporation cause you serious injury with its carelessness, and I promise you that the only reason you'll be able to hold it accountable is that there is some "ambulance chaser" willing to take your piddly little case on contingency. And chances are he's not getting rich off of your case. He's working very hard to settle a whole bunch of piddly little cases like yours so he can make a decent living.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31334788)

There is no incentive to try to be clever and look at prior art narrowly. It just weakens your patent.

That is hilarious. Patent attorneys have _every_ possible incentive to construe prior art in the narrowest possible terms, such that a patent has the broadest scope possible. And in fact, software patent attorneys seem to rarely if ever search or cite anything other than previously issued patents and (on occasion) published journal articles. Standard industry practice for related innovations considered too trivial to patent decades prior doesn't even register. To say nothing of all the things that couldn't have obtained software patents in the first place, because under then existing precedent, such patents were _prohibited_.

The common law definition of prior art in the field of software patents (established in the few years they have been allowed) is so narrow that relatively trivial changes in target application count as a new "invention", changes so trivial that most software engineers don't think they indicate a material advance in the state of the art _at all_. No software developer in his right mind thinks that the _claims_ of the Facebook patent represent such an advance, for example. Hence the outrage, even among those fully educated with regard to what the _claims_ actually entail.

There are _reams_ of much more sophisticated prior art in publish and subscribe systems. The only thing new here is the application of a rudimentary such system to the field of social networking. Any patent examiner who had even a superficial understanding of the history of the state of the art in software systems would know that. One might well conclude that either they are ignorant, or they are operating under a legal regime where prior art has an artificially narrow definition, in spades.

[By the way, you shouldn't go around making claims that require you to have mind reading capability to be remotely justified. That is juvenile, to put it mildly, and you ought to know better than that. You shouldn't act as if one must be a member of the patent high priesthood to have an educated opinion about the merits of the current patent system, either. An attorney may no doubt have a better conception of what the law _is_, but that hardly gives them some sort of monopoly over the question of what the law _should be_.

Due to enormous conflicts of interests, many attorneys are uniquely _unqualified_ to answer the latter question. Why don't we have federal malpractice reform? Because the trial attorneys don't like it. Why do we spend tens of billions a year on a socially and economically counterproductive software patent arms race? Ditto. There is no actual evidence that software and business method patents are a net benefit to anyone except the patent industry.

If it were not for the economic interests of the trial attorneys we would have medical malpractice reform tommorrow. If it were not for the economic interests of the patent bar, we would have radical _statutory_ limitations on the free for all that currently characterizes software and business method patents within months as well. Aside from the legal profession, the constituency for the proposition that the present software and business method patent regime makes the world a better place is small to non-existent. No doubt that is why the Supreme Court is reviewing the question.]

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31336574)

Still waiting on that single concrete example... (which wouldn't prove your thesis, but at least would be a starting point)

No, you don't have to be a patent attorney to make a meaningful argument about patent law, but you do have to know what you're talking about. When you say things like "this is just status updates on social networking," you make it glaringly obvious that you either don't really know what a patent is, or you do know what it is but you prefer disingenuous hyperbole. So yeah, my opinions are colored by my experience. So are yours. I make a living writing patents for people who think they've come up with something new---everything from artificial intelligence to dog dishes. You make a living doing something else. And yeah, some are more dubious than others. But I like to see my clients succeed, and if I think the law as it now stands entitles them to a patent, them I'm going to fight to get it for them (on the other hand, if I think they're toast, I tell them so and recommend against dumping money into a black hole). And since I like to see my clients succeed, I'm in favor of laws that let more of them succeed. So fine, disagree with me. But do it from a well-informed position.

As for my psychic accusation, I note that you haven't bothered to refute it. Anyway, you obviously care about patents. If you care enough to want to really make a difference, study patents. Read Dennis Crouch's Patently-O (where, indeed, a few of the users are both well-informed and rabidly anti-patent), or pull a few patent file wrappers, and read them from beginning to end. Go to the nearest law school, and read a few sections from Chisum on topics like prior art, IDSs, and Markman hearings. It may or may not change some of your opinions, but your arguments will definitely be more pointed and effective.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31336810)

Assuming you know anything about the history of publish and subscribe systems, or access control lists, or broadcast notification filtering, why don't you tell me _anything_ that is a non-obvious advance in the state of the art in the Facebook patent.

I am telling you that the the claims are entirely derivative, superficial, and obvious and have cited an entire field of commercial software systems that do the same thing and ten times more, on a much more sophisticated and flexible basis. Do you deny that publish and subscribe messaging systems with access control and filtering actually exist? Such systems earn companies like IBM hundreds of millions of dollars a year. By comparison, the Facebook system - as actually implemented - is little more than a toy.

So tell me, what do you think is innovative about the Facebook patent? Anything? Do you know any actual software engineers who would conclude that the claims of the Facebook patent are beyond the ken of a person with ordinary skill in the art? Any actual software engineers who would rather fight a software patent arms race complete with the uncertainty that any non-trivial software product probably unknowingly violates tens if not hundreds of software patents. Go ahead, make my day.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31337186)

By the way, you might start with telling us how anything in the Facebook patent is a non-trivial advance in the state of the art over Patent 6,298,455 "Publish and subscribe data processing with failover using cascaded sequence numbers" granted to IBM on October 2, 2001.

If anything Facebook's patent describes a regression in the state of the art, back to the kindergarten level. Of course that is the way they want it, all the better to intimidate the widest possible range of competitors over the widest possible domain.

The only visible difference between Facebook and tens of thousands of real world deployments of products such as IBM MQSeries (now Websphere MQ) is the idea that lo and behold we can use such a system to publish and subscribe events in such a toy application as social networking. Real world systems have much more sophisticated implementations in stock trading, financial transactions, manufacturing, error notification and so on.

Service oriented architectures based on such systems have been standard practice for nearly twenty years. The Java Messaging System (JMS) strike a bell by any chance? Seventeen years ago DEC was in our office trying to sell us such a system that ran on _VAX/VMS_. Such functionality (Advanced Queuing) has been a standard (no added cost) part of the Oracle database for nearly a decade, etc etc.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31339880)

Okay, that's a good start. Now the next step is to map the art you cited to each and every element of the following claim:

1. A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

Once you have done that, you have legitimately complained about a patent.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31340954)

I have given an excellent illustration of the technology used to implement any number of comparable systems of much greater sophistication. The only thing that remains is to establish the obviousness of any of the differences.

And if you don't think that once given the prior art of a contemporary, sophisticated publish and subscribe system the remaining steps here are not perfectly obvious to any person having ordinary skill in the art, I should well conclude that you have something to sell.

And _even_ if the inventive steps here managed to survive a real court challenge (at the cost of tens of millions of dollars) the fact remains that the the entire world, as a whole, will be impoverished thereby, based on the excess of one of the most pusillanimous enterprises the world has ever seen. The software patent industry - as presently constituted - belongs in the same category with horse tracks, dog racing, and casinos. We would be immensely better off as a society if software patents in any shape or form were prohibited tommorrow.

Re:The real funny meat of the article! (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291064)

They used open-source code, namely JavaScript, which is open and free and created a process by leveraging existing technology.

While I think the patent in question (and virtually all software patents) is bullshit, this part of the argument above is utterly absurd.

Even the most legitimate patents trivially fall into this category of things developed using other things that already exist by leveraging existing technology.

RSS (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290732)

Isn't the news feed very similar to aggregated RSS feeds from multiple sources? Not necessarily technically, but from a "process" standpoint.

Re:RSS (5, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290750)

Since when has prior work stopped someone from getting a patent?

Re:RSS (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 4 years ago | (#31295566)

It's okay, Facebook have only patented displaying a news feed in entirely the wrong order, no matter how many times you tell it to display my feed in chronological order FFS.

Re:RSS (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290816)

If you combine it with filters (found in most rss programs), password-protected rss feeds (possible) and some algorithm that tries to decide what's important news to you (Facebook seriously sucks at this though), then yes it's basically the same thing.

Re:RSS (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291088)

I actually have an app that predates facebook itself, I think (I'm not 100% sure when facebook was started) that produces RSS feeds from serverlogs, and takes actions based on these messages (including email, page, etc).

It's also been BSD licensed since 2006... when did facebook start this stuff?

Re:RSS (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291368)

The key to the patent is that news items are generated automatically based on the activities of other users (your friends) and the news items have a link in them so that you can participate in the same activity. Add in security for who sees the news, ordering, database, etc, and you've got the patent.

I don't see how this relates to an RSS feed at all.

Not saying this is particularly novel, either, but that's what it is. It's not a patent on a "news feed". Typical slashdot summary.

-John

In other news (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31290764)

In other news Microsoft today was granted patents for the application for, approving of, and legal protection provided by documented inventions. The expected lawsuit of every government in the world is expected shortly. When reached for comment the head of the U.S. patent office was found to be a small gremlin like creature living in a dark cave beneath Congress who's only response was something about Sarah Palin.

One day people are going to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291580)

...Let's just stop doing business in the US. They've got four per cent of the world's population and 80 per cent of the world's lawyers and it's a very anti-business environment.

And the less said of the great finger-in-the-anus welcome you get from the mouth-breathing customs people for BRINGING EMPLOYMENT AND MONEY into the US, the better.

Lazy Patent Agents (2, Insightful)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290808)

The USPO is getting lazy. There is quite a few examples of prior art which would extinguish this useless patent, namely Google News.

Re:Lazy Patent Agents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31290884)

Whats with this "Getting" business? Has the USPO ever been NOT lazy?

Re:Lazy Patent Agents (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291202)

The USPO is getting lazy

I am going to be a bit more pragmatic and look at the cause. At my work, we all appear to be lazy, ie timelines are pushed, things get pushed off the list, and, in a less-than-ideal-world way we are under performance pressure. This results in what I call the 80-20 result. Things get done to 80% and are called finished.

I suspect an employees KPI's are calculated on "Applications processed" rather than some other measure.

The only savior to the USPO in when the Govt decides there is international strategic advantage to a robust IP system.

Which could be sooner rather than later. I predict IP will become the new oil reserves. When a country is invaded for IP disputes, we know we are home. The USPO will dance a happy jig as they get Homeland Security like funding.

Re:Lazy Patent Agents (1)

operator_error (1363139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291342)

Or RSS?

Not Google News (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291490)

The USPO is getting lazy. There is quite a few examples of prior art which would extinguish this useless patent, namely Google News.

Uh, no. Here's the claim:

1. A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising:
monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment;
storing the plurality of activities in a database;
generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user;
attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user;
limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and
displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

Hint: Just because it says the word "news" doesn't mean that anything involving news is prior art. For instance, Google News doesn't present items relating to activities performed by another Google News user.

I wouldn't throw stones at the USPTO for being lazy when you can't even be bothered to read the patent claims.

Re:Not Google News (1)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292946)

I wouldn't throw stones at the USPTO for being lazy when you can't even be bothered to read the patent claims.

And having read it I would lob boulders, not stones. One of the most important criteria is supposed to be "not obvious to someone else well-versed in the art". This fails. Almost every software patent fails that test.

Re:Not Google News (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31293852)

One of the most important criteria is supposed to be "not obvious to someone else well-versed in the art". This fails. Almost every software patent fails that test.

How many patents do you have? Yeah... Everything is obvious in hindsight, particularly to people who don't invent anything.

Re:Lazy Patent Agents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291640)

If only they had some kind of live 'feed' that could show them patent requests in order as they come in...

Good news (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290834)

If its patented and only usable by one company the idea of everyone aware of the actions of the friends of your friends, then that privacy nightmare will became unpopular.

This isn't possible and this is what it means (3, Interesting)

Kanel (1105463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290856)

You can't patent something that has already been published or is out in the open. The Facebook news is well known so this means one of two things:

1) This is a patent that was filed years ago, before facebook launched the feed. In the years since the filing, facebook has probably developed their feed away from the original proposal in the patent

2) The patent contains something new that facebook has not implemented in today's facebook and which is not published elsewhere. In that case, what?

Re:This isn't possible and this is what it means (2, Informative)

Kanel (1105463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290874)

To be precise, you can publish as much as you like once the patent application has been handed in at the patent office. You don't have to wait until the patent is granted, which could be years later

Re:This isn't possible and this is what it means (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291536)

You can't patent something that has already been published or is out in the open. The Facebook news is well known so this means one of two things:

1) This is a patent that was filed years ago, before facebook launched the feed. In the years since the filing, facebook has probably developed their feed away from the original proposal in the patent

The patent was filed August 11, 2006. Facebook opened itself to the public on Sept 26, 2006, although it was open to college students prior to that. If Facebook didn't add this feature until the Sept 26, 2006 relaunch, then the application pre-dates the public use, and the patent isn't removing something from the public domain.

Additionally, under 35 USC 102(b), you actually have an entire year to use your invention before you have to file. It's a grace period. So they could have implemented the feature at any point up to August 11, 2005.

reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31290982)

this is claim 1
1. A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

In patents, you are allowed EXACTLY what you claim, no more and no less; while in some cases you can read claims as english, in other cases, you have to read them understanding that the legal profession uses words differently.
There have been whole court cases over what exactly "the' in a claim meant, because the precise meaning can influence exactly what the claim means

I don't know enough about network patents to comment, but perhaps a knowledgable person can comment on the second clause "monitoring a plurality..."
it seems to me tht it might be easy to write a new patent that avoids this part of the claim and therefor makes this patent worthelss

BBS 1980's (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292524)

1. A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users..

News:

It's user1's birthday today, wish them a happy birthday! Press * to wish them a happy birthday in email!
It's user2's birthday tomorrow!

Today in history: etc...

BBS, 1985. You can hide the news in your settings. Did I miss anything?

Should not be big. (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31290998)

This should not be patented. Newsfeed is needed for human survival. It should not carry a price.

Re:Should not be big. (1)

el_jake (22335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291024)

You are absolutely right. This is so wrong. But then again all "software" patents is.

Re:Should not be big. (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291240)

Not to mention, it's just plainly stating what happened to who.

I would like to patent "stating the truth in a list." Isn't that basically what they're doing?

What if I started publishing a list that my program generated telling you of all the activities of a group of people? Would I have to .. Lie about it as to not cross this patent?

Re:Should not be big. (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291434)

>> What if I started publishing a list that my program generated
>> telling you of all the activities of a group of people?

If your list included a link that allowed people to also participate in said activity, you'd be close to violating the patent. You'd also have to implement a method for storing said activities in a database, a relation system for views and people in your group, a security system to ensure only authorized or related people can view the list, etc.

There's more to the patent than just generating a list of activities. Not much more, mind you, and not anything novel, imo, but that's what it is.

-John

Re:Should not be big. (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291754)

So you're saying my program should use a "Where" clause. Damn, I knew SQL was up to no good.

Re:Should not be big. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31295150)

This covers slashdot perfectly. A blog is a list, as is a threaded discussion. Each contain links which are both stored in a database and made available through RSS feeds (as well as on the web.) Discussions of submissions are certainly "activities" participated in by the users.

Basically, the facebook community is claiming that they own the slashdot community, if you want to think of it that way. So the popular types are claiming dominion over the nerds, when slashdot has prior art. Man the barricades.

Software patents are evil (0, Troll)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291026)

Yet another example of why software patents are a threat to the health of the republic. The sad thing is that Facebook probably actually thinks this is an "invention".

Just to deter newcomers... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291246)

Facebook would lose a lot of face (pardon the pun) if they tried to act on this patent. I personally don't think they intend to. They just want to deter the "next big thing" from even seeing the light of day. Everyone who enters this aerna would be walking onto a trap door that Facebook controls the lever of.

Really Simple Syndication (1, Troll)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291302)

They've just patented RSS feeds. Idiots.

Re:Really Simple Syndication (1)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292350)

Rss feeds related to your friends activities? Maybe they've patented an rss feed reader which I guess you can say each feed is your friend but not rss feeds themselves

Re:Really Simple Syndication (0, Troll)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292610)

Man. I was in the middle of writing a rather lengthy post meant to contradict you and then I RTFA. In short, you're right, but it's hardly a "reader" rather the method for constructing the feed of relevant data in the first place. In any case, I'm sure we can all agree that this is a worthless patent to begin with.

Does Slashdot violate the patent? (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#31291442)

If not, let's patent the 'hide user comments for a score less than'!

Go with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291562)

claim 1:
1. A method for reviewing the reccommendations of countless months of volunteer collaboration on methods and implementation suggestions of standardizing computational algorithms to be implemented by adopting parties for a specific communication method -- hyper text transfer protocol -- where the result of stable, accurate, efficient and less-prone-to-error -- that is, less prone to not-follow-the-standards supposedly adopted by affectively neglected voluntarily by adopting agent -- results in a processed medium from it's origination -- device (a) be it a computer or hard disk drive -- to desitination -- device (b) be it a computer or hard disk drive -- with the ultimate conclusing being something that began centuries ago when the _Printing_Press_ was invented.

claim 2:
2. That we can duplicate this across all mediums without the need for a client (c) to fulfill a voluntary action to complete the process.

claim 3:
3. Claim 2 would be invalidated as well as all other claims within this patent if (c) does no longer wish to engage in the completion or acitivation or "start" of the communicative procedure to ensure the completion of claim 1.

How long? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31291786)

How long until someone patents writing?

Or, to be simpler, what happens if someone patents patents?

What is the world is coming to?

We, as species, are only strong _because_ we share knowledge. All this infighting... what are we waiting for?

An alien/animal intelligent enemy that unites us?

Pathetic.

If it stops others... (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292220)

If it stops others from implementing this abomination, I'm all for it. As embarrassed as I am to admit that I use FB I have to say that the News Feed is horrible. I guess they were trying to find a way to show me what I'm interested in without showing me a whole bunch of garbage. They failed utterly. News Feed has some random kind of order that I can't fathom. It mainly shows me things I've already seen without showing me new stuff. And it seems I can't permanently turn it off.

But it doesn't work (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292556)

So they've patented the biggest thing they broke when they upgraded the site a few weeks back? They are most welcome to patent it, though they are wasting their time and money -- it does not work properly. No-one is going to copy it... no-one in their right minds anyway.

Database (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292744)

When my patent on relation databases goes through I'm going to own this rock.

I can't be the only one who remembers pointcast. (1)

jamesccostello (1558831) | more than 4 years ago | (#31292990)

how is this any different than pointcast? I wonder if they are still around.

Slashdot Story + Patent = FAIL (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31294178)

Once again we have a Slashdot story on patents that is a complete FAIL.

THE ABSTRACT IS NOT WHAT THE PATENT COVERS. It is the first claim that is the patented material, to whit:

1. A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.

So really this is an attempt to make a news feed relevant to the structure of a social network. While I don't know what the prior art on this is, it is clearly not patenting RSS feeds, news feeds etc., and it may actually be something novel and non-obvious. Or not. But part of this implies limiting access to mews items to a set of users. From my own work I happen to know that access control within social networks is an area of current academic research. I happened to run into a recent presentation by Tim Berners-Lee on that very topic where he claimed it was an unsolved problem.

So what do we have here as far as Slashdot goes?

1. Story is wrong in particulars of patent coverage.
2. Story is probably wrong on issue of prior art.
3. Story is definitely wrong on issue of obviousness question.

Re:Slashdot Story + Patent = FAIL (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31299806)

Story is definitely wrong on issue of obviousness question.

Any smart sixth grader could come up with stuff like this in his sleep. The implementation details may not be obvious, but the idea being patented is such a hum drum application of run of the mill computer technology that it is pathetic that anyone considers this patentable at all.

Re:Slashdot Story + Patent = FAIL (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31305890)

Here's a clue for you, right from IP Law 101:

Patents cover implementations of ideas.

The fact that as you say that the implementation might not be trivial is exactly what makes this patentable.

DUH.

Re:Slashdot Story + Patent = FAIL (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31317402)

Well, if Facebook patented a specific implementation that wasn't right out of software engineering 101, maybe the patent would be valid.

As tempted as I am to respond in kind, I must say that "DUH" is exactly the way to garner enemies and opponents of your position, of whatever dubious value it may have.

Re:Slashdot Story + Patent = FAIL (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31317732)

"A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising: monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment; storing the plurality of activities in a database; generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user; attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users; and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users."

Let's see here - a news feed on topics of interest, with access control and filtering. Not exactly rocket science. The sort of thing that clipping services were doing on paper three hundred years ago. No doubt using the Internet makes all the difference.

Granting the proposition that such a trivial implementation of an age old idea is actually patentable, and the patent is valid, at the very least the laws and policies that allow such things are immensely counterproductive, by effectively granting a monopoly on an entire field of enterprise based on something that at a high level is arguably not an "invention" at all, but rather a slight re-cast of technology that has widely been implemented on computers for decades.

In short, legal or not, software patents are evil, crippling entire industries while preserving an ephemeral advantage for a tiny minority. Software patent attorneys make their living by poisoning the well. That has to be a discouraging reality to wake up to every day, for those not so deluded as to suppose what they do actually makes the world a better place.

broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31294512)

too bad it's broke all the dam time

Should not be patentable in the first place (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31295324)

it's merely an algorithm... reducible to pure maths.

I wish people would stop trying to defeat software patents on the basis of prior art and instead work on defeating them as un-patentable in the first place.

Re:Should not be patentable in the first place (1)

Anci3nt of Days (1615945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31295632)

So what would you use to define and protect software innovations?

Copyright doesn't work as it only protects the expression, and does nothing to protect the same code in another language. Trade marks only protect against use as a brand identifier (paraphrased to avoid a recursive definition). Free market only protects the biggest fish to push the idea, or in some cases the first to market. Open source allows no guaranteed reward (and little to no investment). Software as a Service only works for unique business needs, with the same problems as free market.

Software patents do stretch the definition of patent, but without a new sui generis system of IP they are the best way to guarantee some measure of reward for the inventor. They have massive problems, but they are the best tool we have.

Flickr as prior art (2004) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31295444)

I don't really use Flickr, so I don't remember this, but possible (and clear) prior art: http://twitter.com/kellan/status/9651902873 [twitter.com]

I have less competitors then I guess (1)

Heddahenrik (902008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31297686)

As my sites aren't based in the USA, but in EU, this basically only means that I'll get fewer competitors from the USA and that the ones I have will spend more money on lawyers and less on development. I don't see how reading a patent would help me implement this though, but there might be something smart in there that I can't see by simply using Facebook and think.

Yes, I run sites similar to Facebook and I'm about to implement that kind of news-feed. Different, but similar.

Jewbook is fucking retarded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31300226)

fuck these fucking kike books

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