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Facebook Locks Down Social Gift Giving Patent

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the no-presents-for-you dept.

Facebook 185

bizwriter writes "Facebook has been on a roll of late, nailing a number of patent grants that will help it retain dominance in social networking by creating barriers for competitors. Yesterday came patent number 7,970,657, 'Giving gifts and displaying assets in a social network environment'. Although it doesn't directly prevent other social networks from enabling gift giving among users, a clever legal and technical maneuver makes it far more difficult."

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185 comments

Fris ps0t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609702)

FIRST POST SERIES

Re:Fris ps0t (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about 3 years ago | (#36610058)

I can't believe that no-ones pointed out the prior art. I mean come on; Tagged anyone???

How about bebo? Plenty more where that came from ....

At first glance (1, Redundant)

james_van (2241758) | about 3 years ago | (#36609708)

I though "meh, doesnt effect me". however, we really have to do something about software patents. this is getting out of hand.

Re:At first glance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609808)

Totally agree with you. There is a limit to protecting ideas... I guess you would need to prove there has been significant investment in time/money to produce the idea or that it really is groudbreaking to be able to protect it.

Re:At first glance (3, Insightful)

sosume (680416) | about 3 years ago | (#36610734)

This. It should not be possible to get a patent for an idea that just surfaced. Patents should only be granted for months upon months of hard work, research, validation and such. And expire after a short time, say 5 years.
A patent for giving a gift, making a gesture or arranging a number of icons is just silly and killing the software industry. The patent office should void all such patents and since algorithms cannot be patented, no software patents should be allowed. At all.

Re:At first glance (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 3 years ago | (#36609860)

I was going to patent "Using patents to fuck people over in a social network environment" but I knew I would get slammed with prior art...

Re:At first glance (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#36609922)

Facebook should be shut down for prior art. I'm pretty sure sites like deviantArt and Bebo did it first.

WTF? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609722)

What's the point of patenting things anymore if the "design", "process" or "technology" is so trivial as this? I may as well go ahead with my patent for "any method of expulsion of bodily fluids" - as dumb as the USPTO is, they'll probably grant it. Prior art be damned.

Re:WTF? (1)

Tasha26 (1613349) | about 3 years ago | (#36609794)

I thought UPSTO was trying to clean its image by not granting anymore stupid patents this year?

Re:WTF? (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | about 3 years ago | (#36609926)

Well, it would seem you have been misinformed.

Re:WTF? (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 3 years ago | (#36610786)

Unfortunately they can't without paying royalties; that business method has already been patented.

Re:WTF? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 3 years ago | (#36610292)

and what about prior museums (with the quantity of sites already doing this, prior art just doesn't have the right context)?

europe (3, Interesting)

chris.alex.thomas (1718644) | about 3 years ago | (#36609732)

In europe I doubt many people will care much, I'll write my software without fear of software patents and just scrub off the USA from my list of places to visit, then when the legal letter arrives with "you must stop using our " I'll throw it in the bin and carry on with my life. If you live in a truely free country, you don't tend to care what other legal systems say, what matters, is what your country says... I love europe sometimes, although I hope that they don't change the whole "patents are not valid in europe" thingy.....and lets hope I don't bump into any "rendition crews" :)

beam in thine own eye (4, Informative)

t2t10 (1909766) | about 3 years ago | (#36609786)

Yeah, and that will happen after you launch a successful Facebook competitor and become a gazillionaire, right? These patents matter because the few companies that could possibly compete with facebook are global.

As for "truly free", Europe has serious restrictions on freedom of expression, much more onerous copyright restrictions (no fair use, for example), and strong limits on competition; in comparison, software patents are a small issue. And software patents are being pushed onto the member countries through the EU.

Re:beam in thine own eye (2)

max (79752) | about 3 years ago | (#36610032)

"Serious restrictions on freedom of expression"? It would be nice to know WHAT part of Europe you are referring to. IMHO, the country I live in stille are more free when it comes to expression than the US. The copyright restrictions pushed on us now are backed by interests over in the great media publishing giant in the west, and the limits on competition as you call it is to *protect* competition from being destroyed by a monopoly-like situation.

I seriously doubt that software patents are pushed onto the european member countries by the EU unless there were a precedent in the US backed by very strong and determined economic interests.

Re:beam in thine own eye (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610098)

You can't be a member of the Nazi party or spout Nazi ideology in Germany. Check and mate.

Fucking Eurotards.

Re:beam in thine own eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610466)

Yeah, just like proclaiming to be a member of Al-Qaeda is gonna go over so well in the US. Fucking Ameritards.

Re:beam in thine own eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610888)

You can't be a member of the Nazi party or spout Nazi ideology in Germany.

Thread closed:

There are many corollaries to Godwin's law, some considered more canonical (by being adopted by Godwin himself) than others. For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress.

I call shenanigans!

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610132)

Try standing on a busy street corner and shouting "Heil Hitler" - not as part of parody or art or some such, but as an expression of your (hypothetical) political belief. See where that gets you.

(Yes, I know the result may vary from country to country.)

Re:beam in thine own eye (2)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 3 years ago | (#36610284)

That result may not necessarily be based on laws though (as in "you get beaten up by anybody passing by"). Try shouting "death to niggers" in a neighborhood with many blacks in the US and see how far appealing to the first amendment gets you.

Re:beam in thine own eye (2)

jpapon (1877296) | about 3 years ago | (#36610158)

"Serious restrictions on freedom of expression"? It would be nice to know WHAT part of Europe you are referring to

Well, for example, the fact that in the U.K. you can place anonymous gagging orders on newspapers so that they can't publish facts about you.

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

nicolastheadept (930317) | about 3 years ago | (#36610298)

Hmmm, would you like people snooping on your private life, and then making money publishing it. Or in at least one of the gagging orders, it is alleged blackmail took place.

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about 3 years ago | (#36610362)

They don't work either. I think we should rename the "Streisand Effect" to the "RYAN GIGGS HAD AN AFFAIR Effect"

Re:beam in thine own eye (2)

ThinkWeak (958195) | about 3 years ago | (#36610090)

What is the definition of a Social Network? Couldn't every MMORPG out there be considered a social network?

Re:beam in thine own eye (2)

jpapon (1877296) | about 3 years ago | (#36610236)

I tried to find a definition of it in the patent, but of the 159 instances of "social network" they used, only one comes anywhere close to defining what a social network is.

Conventionally, a user of a networking website connects with other users by providing information about the user to a social network website for access by the other users. For example, a user may post contact information, background information, current job position, hobbies, and so forth. Information about personal events may also be posted by a user, for example on personal webpages, web logs (BLOGS), etc. Such posts may include information about gifts received, gifts given, purchases made, etc. Other users may contact the user and/or review information about the user based on common interests or for any other reason.

As for MMORPGs, I would say they contain social networks (such as a guild, or a friends list), but are not strictly speaking social networks themselves. Of course this is all a bunch of nonsense anyways.

I said several years ago that software patents would soon reach a level of absurdity that would make it impossible to justify their continued existence. Unfortunately, software patents crashed through that level a while ago, and have never looked back.

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 3 years ago | (#36610312)

This definition would include the community features in Steam. Of course Steam also supports gift giving.

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 years ago | (#36610396)

Bah! The patent system jumped the shark when they patented swinging sideways.

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

c0p0n (770852) | about 3 years ago | (#36610128)

"no fair use" sorry dude but that ain't true. "Europe" is not a single country you know.

Re:beam in thine own eye (3, Informative)

MareLooke (1003332) | about 3 years ago | (#36610272)

No fair use? Citation needed because I seriously believe you pulled that one out of your ass. Afaik copyright law is also still in the hands of individual countries anyway, over here at least schools are free to use published articles in their entirety as they see fit, for example.

And yeah spreading hate and trying to retroactively alter history (eg. negationism) isn't allowed in most of Europe, which is bad how? Also limits on competition? There's limits to prevent LACK of competition (ask all of your fellow Americans that get the "choice" of having only 1 cable provider how well that works for them)

No idea why you were modded informative, as a Troll you did a damn good job though

Re:beam in thine own eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610562)

He might be confused because in some countries it isn't called "fair use", it's called "fair dealing" [wikipedia.org] . Different terminology doesn't mean the concept doesn't exist.

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

Entrope (68843) | about 3 years ago | (#36610692)

So, how many European countries have fair dealing or some similar set of exemptions? One? That Wikipedia page doesn't even list Ireland as a place where a fair dealing defense is available.

Re:beam in thine own eye (2)

HBI (604924) | about 3 years ago | (#36610578)

And yeah spreading hate and trying to retroactively alter history (eg. negationism) isn't allowed in most of Europe, which is bad how?

There is danger in giving any government the power to regulate expression. Governments change, and some will use this power for ill. Giving it to a government to prevent something you consider offensive is a poor reason to take that risk.

Also limits on competition?

Competition is the very essence of innovation, where innovation is defined as improving the human condition. Regulating competition limits standard of living on a macro scale. There's a certain Luddite tinge to limiting competition*. "Life is good enough now, we don't need it to get better"

The "more, better" society has its down side, but without it, nearly all of the progress since the Industrial Revolution wouldn't have happened. We'd have lifespans in the 30s overall and no antibiotics.

* I see the same Luddite theology amongst the environmental movement as generally defined. I use the word theology purposefully.

Re:beam in thine own eye (1)

MareLooke (1003332) | about 3 years ago | (#36610762)

And yeah spreading hate and trying to retroactively alter history (eg. negationism) isn't allowed in most of Europe, which is bad how?

There is danger in giving any government the power to regulate expression. Governments change, and some will use this power for ill. Giving it to a government to prevent something you consider offensive is a poor reason to take that risk.

You would be wrong, what is disallowed, for example negationism in my country (Belgium), is clearly defined by law. Whether you are guilty of spreading hate, negationism or racism is decided by court, and unlike in the US you are not guilty until proven guilty (and you won't go bancrupt defending yourself either, also unlike in the US) and as the court case aroud Mark Wilders in the Netherlands proves you have to push really hard before you'll get convicted for spreading hate or racism.

Also limits on competition?

Competition is the very essence of innovation, where innovation is defined as improving the human condition. Regulating competition limits standard of living on a macro scale. There's a certain Luddite tinge to limiting competition*. "Life is good enough now, we don't need it to get better"

The "more, better" society has its down side, but without it, nearly all of the progress since the Industrial Revolution wouldn't have happened. We'd have lifespans in the 30s overall and no antibiotics.

* I see the same Luddite theology amongst the environmental movement as generally defined. I use the word theology purposefully.

As I stated, there are no limits on competition, there are only limits to make sure there is no lack of competition. Repeating what you said in your first post without actually providing any evidence to back up your claims doesn't suddenly make it true.

Re:beam in thine own eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610462)

I doubt there will ever be a successful single competitor to facebook. Rather it will be eaten gradually by smaller networks with a more narrow demographic focus. In their attempt at mass appeal, facebook has created a bland, sterile environment, devoid of character. In their attempt to please everybody, theyve created a site which is pleasing to nobody. Facebook is boring.

Re:europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609814)

As a US citizen, I gotta say: I envy you. I'm so god damned sick of the anti-freedom laws here in the US. It's sad what this country has become. For what it's worth, congratulations to Europe on beating the US at its self-professed "own game": freedom.

Re:europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609946)

I'm sick of the BS in America too, but Europe does not equal freedom. And don't be so quick to sell out your own country sissy. the last of the Freedom loving euro came to America decades ago.

My gift to you is this comment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609754)

*This 'Gift of Gab' is still awaiting approval from Mark Zuckerberg

Steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609758)

Doesn't Steam already do this?

Re:Steam? (2)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 3 years ago | (#36610142)

And Amazon before that, who did it with third party vendors as well ... so basically what this patent adds ... is "on a social network".

Smell the non obvious* innovation.

* as defined by lawyers and as agreed upon by a majority of idiots in Texas juries

WHOA. (2)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#36609760)

So now, my act of giving gifts to other people in different settings, can be owned by someone OTHER than me ... or, i have to oblige by a certain private party's demands, when i want to do that in a different setting.

explain me how this shit has not gone over the roof.

Re:WHOA. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609838)

... and remember, if you sing Happy Birthday while giving the gift... you better pay out to the copyright owners [wikipedia.org] !

Re:WHOA. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610538)

That's interesting, but this is the important part:

Professor Robert Brauneis cited problems with the song's authorship and the notice and renewal of the copyright, and concluded "It is almost certainly no longer under copyright."[2] Many question the validity of the current copyright, as the melody of the song was most likely borrowed from other popular songs of the time, and the lyrics were improvised by a group of five- and six-year-old children who never received any compensation.

Basically, the copyright is still valid b/c no one has challenged it in court.

Re:WHOA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609942)

Over the roof is when they take a 'cut' of your donation for facilitating it. Like everything else it will start at 1-2% to cover fees / costs and then one day many years later you will discover they are creaming off 10-20+%

Re:WHOA. (1)

Monchanger (637670) | about 3 years ago | (#36610840)

So now, my act of giving gifts to other people in different settings, can be owned by someone OTHER than me ...

No. You as the gift giver would not be in violation of this idiotic patent. The supposed infringing party would be the group who built the "social network" on which you did.

livejournal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609762)

pretty sure they had the option to give stupid icon gifts in profile page or some such thing. plus probably the buckets and buckets of other prior art i dont even know about.

What about Steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609770)

You have been able to give gifts through Steam for a long time now. Steam is a social network.

Re:What about Steam? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36609858)

I'm pretty sure you've been able to do it on Facebook as well via any number of farming games, etc.

Facebook is a fad (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 3 years ago | (#36609790)

Subscribers are leaving in droves. A year or two and it will totally implode.

Re:Facebook is a fad (1)

imric (6240) | about 3 years ago | (#36609818)

And then they will use these patents to block competition.

Re:Facebook is a fad (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 3 years ago | (#36609930)

Or... They will get bought out by a patent troll.

Re:Facebook is a fad (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36610096)

Or... They will get bought out by a patent troll.

Or their new competitor, whatever it will be, will have to buy them out or else get patent trolled.

That is the gameplan. Can't sell out once everyone leaves, but even if there are no subscribers, you still get to keep the "valuable" patents.

Its a sign that FB internally realizes they have peaked and are on the decline.

Re:Facebook is a fad (1)

Monchanger (637670) | about 3 years ago | (#36610860)

Shhh! Don't give SCO any ideas!

Re:Facebook is a fad (2)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#36609834)

>Subscribers are leaving in droves.

Assuming what you say is true, that means they're going to something else.

Where are they going to?

I've been waiting for Diaspora myself, but that seems to be moribund.

--
BMO

Re:Facebook is a fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609986)

To the park.

Re:Facebook is a fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610044)

Back to using phones and catching up with people in person, in my experience.

Re:Facebook is a fad (1)

zlogic (892404) | about 3 years ago | (#36610102)

Where are they going to?

Probably to get a life.

Re:Facebook is a fad (2, Funny)

bmo (77928) | about 3 years ago | (#36610182)

>snarky remark about online social media

And yet, here you are on slashdot.

--
BMO

Re:Facebook is a fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610810)

>snarky remark about online social media

And yet, here you are on slashdot.

--
BMO

I've learned a lot visiting Slashdot throughout the years. There's educational value to this place. The same can't be said for Facebook.

Basically, you just compared a frat party to chess club.

Re:Facebook is a fad (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 3 years ago | (#36610854)

Subscribers are leaving in droves.

Citation please. And anecdotal evidence is not proof, before you reply.

Zuckerpunch! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#36609796)

That's an absurdly bad patent, and I'm pretty sure that even I have seen assorted prior art. On the plus side, it might help to stem the tide of people tacking 'social' onto every bloody warmed-over .bomb concept in an attempt to sell it to VCs...

Re:Zuckerpunch! (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | about 3 years ago | (#36610714)

Blame the game, not the player. Companies have no choice but to play.

Re:Zuckerpunch! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#36610880)

I don't really think of blame as being a limited resource...

Re:Zuckerpunch! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610870)

2005 I had a "tip jar" I created that people could slip into their blog that let people tip them with virtual gifts/virtual currency - and display them in their blog, which sort of invalidates the abstract. I'll have to dig through the wayback to find it.

We'll all be screwed (2)

mswhippingboy (754599) | about 3 years ago | (#36609800)

I'm thinking we'll all be SOL if someone decides to apply for a patent on "breathing". Apparently the "non-obvious subject matter" test (USPTO 35 U.S.C. 103 http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/appxl_35_U_S_C_103.htm [uspto.gov] ) does not apply anymore, or maybe the "greasing of the skids" is just more blatant now.

Re:We'll all be screwed (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 3 years ago | (#36609890)

Okay, then. Your homework, if you think you can do it better than the USPTO, is to write a proper rejection of any one claim in that patent under 35 USC 102 or 103.

Re:We'll all be screwed (1)

russotto (537200) | about 3 years ago | (#36610372)

Okay, then. Your homework, if you think you can do it better than the USPTO, is to write a proper rejection of any one claim in that patent under 35 USC 102 or 103.

Oh, I know the answer to this one. You basically can't reject on prior art, because any tiny difference between the prior art and the patent means the prior art doesn't apply (though such differences are waved away during infringement prosecutions). So then you go to obviousness. Well, it's easy to show all the components A,B, C, and D existed, but that's not sufficient to prove it was obvious to combine them. OK, so here are several prior systems which combined A and B, B and C, A B and C, C and D, and A and D... sorry, not enough, you have to show combination of A B C and D. OK, here's a system which did A B C and D; nope, sorry, not in the context of a "social network". Now here's one which did A B C and D in what is arguably a social network... was it patented? No, of course not, it was obvious even then. Published? No, of course not, it was just made and used... sorry, it's not enough to have a product out there which embodies everything in the patent.

Re:We'll all be screwed (2)

Rennt (582550) | about 3 years ago | (#36610814)

So we are just going to have to accept that patents have become an impediment to the innovation and commerce they were designed to protect?

Or maybe reform is in order... Or maybe we recognize the system has long since stopped serving it's purpose, so we just throw the whole system out altogether.

no more gifts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609804)

well.. that's it.. no more gifts to anybody! not even on x-mas!

fauxking neogods continue zeus weapon overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609850)

that's what they do. that's all they do, the walking dead weapons peddlers, & our self-appointed rulers.

disarm. read the teepeeleaks etchings, please. thank you.

Giving gifts and displaying assets in a social net (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 3 years ago | (#36609856)

We used to give gifts of food and clothes to the poor children in far away lands at harvest time. All the gifts would be on show a the front of the Hall. Sorry children, our church cannot give you anything this year. Kindness is patented.

Re:Giving gifts and displaying assets in a social (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#36610226)

We used to give gifts of food and clothes to the poor children in far away lands at harvest time. All the gifts would be on show a the front of the Hall. Sorry children, our church cannot give you anything this year. Kindness is patented.

No no no .... like all software patents, this is a "method for doing something we've all been doing for a very long time, but with a computer."

So your real-world situation isn't covered by this patent, merely doing the exact same thing involving a computer. Not having read the patent, I can only imagine that every claim is unique and something nobody else thought of before.

I think I shall patent "a method for pissing and moaning about the inequities of the world but with a computer" ... then every schmuck who gripes about the state of the world owes me money. That would be awesome.

Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609864)

In February 2007, a 100-page Pro graduation master's thesis with the topic "Virtual gift - Trading gifts in BatMUD virtual community"[17] in cultural anthropology for the University of Jyväskylä was published, written by a non-player in Finnish.

In any case, such bullshit patents really need to go. They are detrimental to the whole and do not benefit the public.

Vague abstracts (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#36609872)

So if "The Social Network" is playing on TV on Christmas, suddenly millions of people will be guilty of patent infringement... because of giving gifts in a social network environment.

Re:Vague abstracts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610126)

I am guilty if you read my comment: I give you my advice in a social network named slashdot... Everybody that read my comment can send me bitcoins on 1MKrp3oaxurvywRAMX9UWh8T2VuSLE2xb9 to make sure I will not be tracked by the FBI!

Obsolete Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609876)

I just filed for 'Giving gifts and displaying assets in a social network environment by means of a computer.'

Suck on that, Facebook.

Re:Obsolete Patent (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 3 years ago | (#36609924)

I just filed for 'Giving gifts and displaying assets in a social network environment by means of a computer.'

Suck on that, Facebook.

You forgot to add "in the cloud". Your patent is useless.

Re:Obsolete Patent (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 3 years ago | (#36609964)

They use real clouds and not computers? I've misunderstood that marketing crap buzz word.

gifting online then and now (5, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | about 3 years ago | (#36609896)

Playing social games, 1989
  • gift troll bread
  • You gifted a bread to a large troll.
  • The troll smiles and lets you pass the bridge

New ending! 2011

  • Mark Zuckerberg booms: Though shall not gift!
  • The troll, angry at your attempted patent theft, slays you

Re:gifting online then and now (1)

dzfoo (772245) | about 3 years ago | (#36610248)

You misspelled "give" and "gave." Back in 1989, "gift" was still properly recognized as a noun.

        -dZ.

There is certainly prior art (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#36609912)

There is certainly prior art. I know that this sort of thing was done in Second Life from its inception. I am sure that similar gift giving was done in other online social networks since the very first online social network was developed.

Just gifts? Easily circumvented (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | about 3 years ago | (#36609914)

with some meaningless currency.

In exchange for giving a gift, users get a "gift token" that they can use to buy virtual goods.
As absurd as this patent is, it's also easily worked around.

Re:Just gifts? Easily circumvented (1)

Lysander7 (2085382) | about 3 years ago | (#36609976)

The patent also addresses currency, if I'm not mistaken. It will be possible for workarounds for the patent, yes, but I don't think currency would easily be the means of doing so.

Catholics (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 years ago | (#36609974)

I'm sorry but Catholicism already has a long standing patent on giving to charity and flaunting it in a social environment.

And this is why America is dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36609988)

/dead.

wow (1)

Aeros (668253) | about 3 years ago | (#36610026)

This is just f'n stupid. I would be embarrassed to have my name at the top of this as 'inventor'. This isn't really an invention. Do some real work.

Re:wow (1)

mswhippingboy (754599) | about 3 years ago | (#36610224)

A quick review of some other "groundbreaking" technology as patents granted to Zuckerberg et al:

U.S. Appl. No. 11/493,291, Mark Zuckerberg, System and Methods for Dynamically Generating a Privacy Summary, filed Jul. 25, 2006. cited by other .
U.S. Appl. No. 11/503,037, Mark Zuckerberg, System sand Methods for Providing Dynamically Selected Media Content to a User of an Electronic Device in a Social Network Environment, filed Aug. 11, 2006. cited by other .
U.S. Appl. No. 11/503,242, Mark Zuckerberg, System and Method for Dynamically Providing a News Feed About a User of a Social Network, filed Aug. 11, 2006. cited by other .
U.S. Appl. No. 11/499,093, Mark Zuckerberg, Systems and Methods for Dynamically Generating Segmented Community Flyers, filed Aug. 2, 2006. cited by other .
U.S. Appl. No. 11/580,210, Mark Zuckerberg, System and Method for Tagging Digital Media, filed Oct. 11, 2006. cited by other .
U.S. Appl. No. 12/156,091, Mark Zuckerberg, Systems and Methods for Auction Based Polling, filed May 28, 2008. cited by other .

Look out Apple, MS, IBM & Oracle; there's a new sheriff in town. I'm anxiously awaiting "Mark Zuckerberg, System and Method for World Domination and General Mastery of the Universe (in a Social Network)".

Oh crap! (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#36610056)

I just gave something to a co-worker this morning. Nobody tell Facebook that I did that or I might get sued for patent infringement.

Re:Oh crap! (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#36610118)

I just gave something to a co-worker this morning. Nobody tell Facebook that I did that or I might get sued for patent infringement.

Speaking of that, is this a back door for suing people who give others the common cold or a STD? Not just civil proceedings, but criminal patent violation?

Filed 2007? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610076)

2007? Four years ago? You're kidding. Nobody thought of giving gifts and providing notifications in an on-line setting before then? How in hell is this not subject to prior art and/or simple obviousness? I'm no patent lawyer, but after reading through the application: this thing is utterly absurd. Why was it granted?

Prior art much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610218)

This should never have been granted.

There is loads of prior art in Second Life, Active Worlds, oh and probably every other MMO and MUD in existance.

Maybe what we need is... (3, Insightful)

Ken Hall (40554) | about 3 years ago | (#36610260)

.. one guy at the patent office to look at each patent for about five seconds, and stamp ones like this with "This is stupid, go away... NO PATENT FOR YOU!!"

Due process (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 3 years ago | (#36610610)

.. one guy at the patent office to look at each patent for about five seconds, and stamp ones like this with "This is stupid, go away... NO PATENT FOR YOU!!"

Getting a patent is a legal process, which means it's subject to constitutional guarantees of due process. A patent examiner can't simply say, "ehhhh, no." They have to provide evidence that the invention has been done before or hasn't been done, but is obvious in view of stuff that has been done before. It's like a court - they can't simply say "eh, you're guilty" without showing sufficient evidence.

prior art (1)

allo (1728082) | about 3 years ago | (#36610338)

large communities like spin or jappy have this function since a long time.

Heh (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 3 years ago | (#36610342)

...a clever legal and technical maneuver makes it far
more difficult....

Well, when you put it like that, it makes it sound like they'll have to... innovate.

Example of prior art? (1)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | about 3 years ago | (#36610352)

Re:Example of prior art? (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | about 3 years ago | (#36610842)

Clicking the link in that article yields:

Warning: mysqli_connect() [function.mysqli-connect]: (42000/1044): Access denied for user 'funhi_web1'@'localhost' to database 'funhi_db1' in /home/funhi/public_html/include/constants.php on line 27

Warning: mysqli_error() expects exactly 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/funhi/public_html/include/constants.php on line 27
Problem connecting:

:P

Prior Art? (1)

RdeCourtney (2034578) | about 3 years ago | (#36610478)

I see that the patent was filed in 2007, fortunately I've had virtual gifts on my community site http://friendsite.com/users/SocialStatus/ [friendsite.com] way before then where users could 'purchase' them or give them to other users... matches the digital element of the patent perfectly...

STUPID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610602)

Facebook is STUPID

This Christmas will be a blast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610832)

Now Christmas will never be the same. You can only give gifts to people you have no social connection to. The only way around this will be to leave the packages anonymously under random park benches. And just to make sure you can't be identified and establish a social connection you'll have to wrap them in plain brown paper while wearing gloves so you don't leave fingerprints.

Um, pretty sure other "social networking" sites... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36610904)

...have been doing this. The much maligned Gaia Online comes to mind. Pretty sure they were around before Facebook.

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