Facebook has been awarded a patent on displaying news feeds of users' activities, creating an interwebs stir that basic social network functionality could soon fall prey to Facebook IP rights. The US patent - awarded February 23 - pertains to "dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network". For example: " …
Prior art? No, really?
Once again, the patent office amazes me. This is like patenting shoelace colors, not the product of an entirely new and novel shoelace. Really, how much of all of this has already NOT been done in the Unix world? Anybody remember finger? A little shell script would do the same thing as a "user news feed".
Alzheimer's is required...
...if you work at the PO. You can claim that you are fully up-to-date with prior art. And it's true.
Huh? Is the US Patent Office soft?
When I called the British Patent Office to find out how to patent a concept similar to the Facebook one but involving locations instead (which I had already coded at the time) they told me that concepts can't be patented. Only specific computer code could be patented. Of course there are 1000's of ways to write code to do the same job so it just wasn't possible to patent this concept.
So the US Patent Office must allow any vague concept to become legally protected - and internationally too. Who holds the patent to the concept of usernames and passwords? The concept of subscribing to mailing lists? inputting text into a computer? Double clicking to execute a file? Holding Ctrl to multi-select?
Re: Gary F
Excuse me, is this really the first you've ever heard of the US Patent Office giving patents for concepts? I'm surprised there isn't a patent for shaking yourself dry at the toilet.
r u kidding?
Riddle me this...
And how is this 'patent' any different from any publish/subscribe event messaging system?
The system publishes an event record about a user's action, and you subscribe to it to view the event.
There is nothing new or novel about the patent, therefore this is yet another example of how/why the US Patent Office is fscked up.
When i used to run a multi-line BBS, I had news feeds, where people could post their own items, status, etc... and some of the online games were rewritten to take advantage of it.
What's old is new I guess? And facebook is just as moronic as Apple and Microsoft.
Prior art clearly exists ...
We had the same thing with MUDs, MUSHs & MOOs around thirty years ago ... If you don't believe me, look up the history of "Adventure" or "Zork" ...
...word of mouth/the grapevine
Why is ussing RSS New?
We have been using RSS feeds for years, how can it's use be patented now? It is only doing what we have been providing on developer sites since the late 90's?
I can't wait
Hi there Sally, Thanks for logging in.
Bill (who you slept with last night) is screwed Susan (right click to unfriend Susan).
Your roommate Jenny is searching though your bathroom cabinet.
Philip, who spent the night with you last week, is visiting the local STD clinic.
Derek (a friend of Bill) is posting pictures that Bill took on 4chan.
Patricia is writing about Derek's stalking habits on blogger.
John is linking Patricia's blog on Fark.
Your husband is posting his picture on Adult Friendfinders.
What is the point of a patent that is not enforced?
Has this patent been granted? If so it bodes well for my "words delivered by electronic media" patent that I'm thinking about filing.. Yeah there may be prior are but that doesn't seem to bother any one these days.
Btw reg, your owe me £5 licencing costs for each article published and 50p per comment.
The Americans will patent anything...
"This patent describes a process by which paper can be used as a cleaning utility. The device comprises a paper roll around which multiple layers of perforated tissue are wound. The user is advise to remove sufficient units in order to affect maximum cleaning effect"
... show their worth yet again by blindly handing IP rights to anyone who asks for them.
I am a developer (case anyone was wondering) but i would point anyone in favour of software patents to china to see just how valuable your software patent is there!
On a basic level
Surely any forum software with a "New Posts" button would be prior art, although in a slightly more basic way.
Thank god this can't impact on my business here in Europe, as I offer something very similar.
Before the ignorant comments start...
...Read the actual 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.
So, it's a little more specific than the article portrays (in particular the stuff about linking to the same activity - non essential just for newsfeed/update purposes). Silll, it's entirely possible that there is prior art - the USPTO examination process is notoriously crap at the moment.
Zuckerberg was also first to patent:
> Having a face like a sack full of Turnips
> The photon, specifically designed to deliver social media to human eyeballs
> Dressing like a $2 Steve Jobs figurine
> Being incredibly wealthy for doing absolutely nothing
> Actively and enthusiastically debasing all notions of privacy
> Having the Michelin man's face on Skeletor's body
"pivotal moment in Facebook's history and changed the way millions of people consumed and discovered information on the site."
"Pivotal moment in my history that changed the way I like to stroke my dick and balls"
It is no longer the US Patent "Office"
It is now the US Patent Lottery.
A hint for patent lawyers/other social networking
Priot art: dept
Unix: there was a time when finger command still used to work across machines:
- it was common for people to write small shell scripts to finger other users ["friends"] and run a diff on the old .plan and new .plan. If there was a diff, the output was either dumped on login screen or mailed to self. I would say it achieved pretty much the same thing.
- alumni.net : a precursor to social networking had an "updates" feature [ which of course, sent updates via SMTP]..
- 6 degrees: the first social networking on internet database, AFAIK, also had a [very complex] method to send updates/subscribe to updates of your connections.
Of course, sirs, you will have to do your own hardwork and research before you contest this in court of law. But if you do win, you know where to throw some pennies as a kind gesture :-)
1) Software patents are a bad idea.
2) Software patents have always been a bad idea.
3) Software patents will always be a bad idea.
4) Facebook is shit.
5) Facebook has always been shit.
6) Facebook will always be shit.
Therefore, the only conclusion that I can draw is that rancid smelly shit is always synonomous with software patents and Facebook (and friends).
'We are humbled by the growth of the News Feed' What a joke. No one ever wanted it at all. It was pushed on us time and time again, only to have us change our facebook 'home page' back to 'Status Updates' with dozens of tutorials everywhere on how to do it. No one I know and I mean no one was ever happy with the 'News Feed'. Now it's forced on us with no way to change it back. Oh, but they are 'humbled' that we are all so actively using it. What a joke.
It's bad enough that I have to live with this ridiculous news feed nonsense on Facebook. They need to enforce the patent so this nonsense can be gotten rid of on Myspace. THEN they can make it controlled again, so I'm not forced to watch news feeds from people who's life details are irrelevant to me.
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