Facebook Ordered (Again) To Turn Over Source Code

from the this-still-makes-no-sense dept

Last year, we wrote about an odd patent lawsuit brought against Facebook by a company called Leader Technology. What was odd was that Facebook didn't seem like an obvious target for the patent (7,139,761) about associating a piece of data with multiple categories (and, actually why the idea that associating a piece of data with multiple categories should be patentable is another of life's mysteries). We actually thought it was more of a publicity stunt by Leader Technologies, rather than a serious lawsuit. But, we were surprised last month when a judge actually ordered Facebook to turn over its source code as a part of the lawsuit. This didn't make much sense to us. The source code really should only matter if it was a copyright infringement suit, not a patent one. Besides, why should Facebook turn over all of its source code over such a minor issue of associating a piece of data with multiple categories. At the very least, it should just be whatever part of the code that Leader believes is infringing.

Facebook objected to the ruling, but Ravish lets us know that the judge has denied Facebook and once again demanded the company hand over its entire source code. Even though Leader will only be able to view the source code under the watchful eye of Facebook representatives, it still seems quite extreme that a judge would require that Facebook reveal its entire source code to a company that is a competitor.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Kazi, Sep 9th, 2009 @ 11:50pm

    Leader Tech. should sue every company and require them to turn over their source code!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 12:50am

    What was odd was that Facebook didn't seem like an obvious target for the patent (7,139,761) about associating a piece of data with multiple categories (and, actually why the idea that associating a piece of data with multiple categories should be patentable is another of life's mysteries).

    nvm facebook am i supposed to hand in my Access and excel data?

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 12:53am

    can you say money grab?

    Even though Leader will only be able to view the source code under the watchful eye of Facebook representatives, it still seems quite extreme that a judge would require that Facebook reveal its entire source code to a company that is a competitor.

    I wonder if the judge is just on Leader Techs payroll or if he is a shareholder

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 12:54am

    Umm...playing songs by genre in media player?

     

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  5.  
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    ojkelly (profile), Sep 10th, 2009 @ 12:54am

    how ignorant is that judge?

    honestly thats giving up trade secrets to satisfy a clearly bogus patent.

    Moreso, how was that patent even issued, its perhaps the most basic taxonomy and yet its patentable? Then again here is Aus you can trademark a colour.

     

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  6.  

    Make Money Running Facebook, Twitter, And Viral Web Applications

    this is probably the most bootleg and ambiguous patent I've ever heard of! Facebook should sue the courts!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Chargone (profile), Sep 10th, 2009 @ 1:36am

    Re: Make Money Running Facebook, Twitter, And Viral Web Applications

    nice as that'd be...

    who'd hear the case? :S
    [well, there's probably a way to do it, but it seems amusingly weird. kinda like 'who shaves the barber' :D]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    James, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 2:04am

    How to

    How about Facebook simply print off the code ideally in binary and allow them to view that...

    Should be enough to drive anybody mad...

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    inc, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 2:41am

    lol that patent applies to every database driven website that has cookies and an encrypted login page.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anshar, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 4:20am

    Anyone Who Has Ever...

    Drawn a Venn diagram has associated a piece of data with multiple categories. Whoever approved that patent in the first place should be cast into a cave and never allowed to use technology again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    evan, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 4:35am

    Re:

    Yup. You can do that here in the US, too. They're called corporate colors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    BobinBaltimore (profile), Sep 10th, 2009 @ 5:39am

    Re: Anyone Who Has Ever...

    Damn! I was just going to use the Venn diagram analogy. Well done! This is a stupid request in a stupid suit about an inane and unsupportable patent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    hmm, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    hold on..so they can see the source code for everything that requires multiple categories?

    Doesn't the US nuclear reflex system have "categories" to decide which cities get targetted by which missiles?

    therefore, Leader should be able to see the entire source code (which I assume would also include a database of current stored source/destinations for each silo).....

    oh yes and banks do it too....so Leader is now entitled to see the bank account source code along with the "multiple categories" of customers name/address/bank details/current balance/items withdrawn/purchased / deposited

    and as a final thought..they are also allowed to see the source code/category list for every type of electronic lock in the world (including fort knox and the president's secure access for launching nukes)

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    FormerComposer, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    Source code for patent suit might be relevant

    The source code really should only matter if it was a copyright infringement suit, not a patent one.
    Early on in the development of Unix, a patent was granted on the SUID bit -- essentially a directory entry flag that signals to the OS that when running a particular program, it should do so as the owner of the program instead with the privileges of the invoker. It was essentially a software implementation of what could be a hardware feature. Was the patent granting a good idea? Don't know but the source code of a possible infringing system would be required to determine the infringement. It had nothing to do with copyright.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    Bah.

    Go to www.facebook.com. Click "view source". Save as html. Send that crap to Leader Tech ;)

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Peter Nissando, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 6:47am

    wtf

    Something doesn't seem right. Non of this makes sense leaving the only explanation that the judge is either a complete moron or something else more sinister is taking place. And as mentioned, the patent in question is well, questionable to say the least. Which all begs the question, wtf is going on right here. Facebook should certainly fight and fight hard.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 6:55am

    I love how they are patenting something so incredibly basic. They probably hold patents on using rebar to support buildings.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Beta, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    I see a new market for code obfuscators.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Judge the Judges, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 7:38am

    Judges in glass houses...

    Judges in glass houses... shouldn't walk around naked...

    Seriously, why do we allow judges to judge matters they have little to absolutely NO comprehension of?

    There should be special judges for technical matters that are out of the experience of the average judge. AND, there should be a TEST to determine whether a judge is qualified - you don't pass the test, you don't get to judge the trial.

    Knowing the law is useless if you don't know what the law applies to.

    Judging the law of something you don't understand is a violation of due process.

    But like doctors, most judges think they "know it all".

    Sad... and disturbing.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Julien Bérubé, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    Everything infringue this patent...

    Am I infringing patent (7,139,761) if I say that this article (data) is crazy, yet informative (categories)?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Donna, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    I guess I should leave the web industry now, before we reach the point where you can find yourself in a lawsuit for saving code within web pages.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    iNtrigued (profile), Sep 10th, 2009 @ 8:07am

    Re: How to

    "01001000 01101111 01110111 00100000 00100000 01100001 01100010 01101111 01110101 01110100 00100000 00100000 01000110 01100001 01100011 01100101 01100010 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100000 00100000 01110011 01101001 01101101 01110000 01101100 01111001 00100000 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101001 01101110 01110100 00100000 00100000 01101111 01100110 01100110 00100000 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 00100000 01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101 00100000 00100000 01101001 01100100 01100101 01100001 01101100 01101100 01111001 00100000 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 00100000 01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 01101111 01110111 00100000 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 01101101 00100000 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 00100000 01110110 01101001 01100101 01110111 00100000 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100001 01110100 00101110 00101110 00101110 00100000 00100000 00100000 00001010 00001010 01010011 01101000 01101111 01110101 01101100 01100100 00100000 00100000 01100010 01100101 00100000 00100000 01100101 01101110 01101111 01110101 01100111 01101000 00100000 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 00100000 01100100 01110010 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000 00100000 01100001 01101110 01111001 01100010 01101111 01100100 01111001 00100000 00100000 01101101 01100001 01100100 00101110 00101110 00101110"

    This is your short comment in BIN. Imagine their entire source code...

    ... Or what about in reverse?

    "...dam ydobyna evird ot hguone eb dluohs ...taht weiv ot meht wolla dna yranib ni yllaedi edoc eht ffo tnirp ylpmis koobecaf tuoba woh"

    Morse code anyone?

    ".... --- .-- .- -... --- ..- - ..-. .- -.-. . -... --- --- -.- ... .. -- .--. .-.. -.-- .--. .-. .. -. - --- ..-. ..-. - .... . -.-. --- -.. . .. -.. . .- .-.. .-.. -.-- .. -. -... .. -. .- .-. -.-- .- -. -.. .- .-.. .-.. --- .-- - .... . -- - --- ...- .. . .-- - .... .- - .-.-.- .-.-.- .-.-.- ... .... --- ..- .-.. -.. -... . . -. --- ..- --. .... - --- -.. .-. .. ...- . .- -. -.-- -... --- -.. -.-- -- .- -.. .-.-.- .-.-.- .-.-.- "

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    The truth about Marc Zuckerman...

    He's into this new-age programming thing where there is no sourcecode called "Granola Programming"

    Facebook is actually a series of "all nautral" tubes and wheels, held together with paperclips and chewing gum.

    In order to master the new technique, you have to wear Adidas Sandals anywhere you go.

    But sometime soon, he'll advance into a Level 3 "Granola" Programmer. You'll know he's advanced when he starts to wear Birkenstocks and riding a bike to work.

    Level 3 Granola Programmers are the type you really need to be worried about because they want to change society to fith their ideal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Allan Masri (profile), Sep 10th, 2009 @ 9:36am

    A little legal sense here

    Under the rules of evidence, Facebook is required to turn over to the plaintiff all documents that apply to the case. The judge may be ignorant of technology, but he is not ignorant of the law. Can the same be said of those criticizing him here? Don't they prejudge the case before it has been tried?

    If the software relating to the patent is as elementary as it seems at first glance, Facebook could easily defend itself with a "prior art" claim, that is, by proving the code in question was in general use before it was patented and therefore the patent is invalid. If the patent is declared invalid, all programmers will benefit from the eradication of another bogus software patent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    chicagokahuna, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    duh

    I guess they have the patent on associating brains to the intelligence category.

    Anybody got the link to the patent?
    Hold a tick...can patents fall under multiple categories in the patent db?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    chicagokahuna, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 10:02am

    Re: duh

    well after reading the patent...they should go after MS with Sharepoint, Documentum, and Vignette and a few other portal software tools next.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Dave, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re: can you say money grab?

    If he was affiliated with Leader in some way he would have recused himself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Telcopro, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Re: A little legal sense here

    All software patents are bogus, that's the nut of the matter!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Ard Righ, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Facebook should sue...

    The US Patent Office for accepting such frivilous and obvious patents like this one.

    Seriously, someone in the US needs to start a class-action lawsuit against the US Patent Office, until they clue up that they are causing damage to the US economy by allowing this crap, and also making the US patent system the biggest joke in the world.

    Did someone get the Marx brothers to setup the US Patent Office?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Mike Riley, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 2:44pm

    Did anybody actually read the patent?

    There are is one similarity between the system they describe and FaceBook;

    "Boards": Content generated by a user (email, files, messages etc) is associated with that user. Very similar to the concept of a FaceBook wall.

    Obviously this isn't enough to justify the entire patent case, but in some ways I can see why they targeted FaceBook.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    The Baker, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Judicial Geographical Inconsistencies

    This is in Delaware! Surprising that it isn't in East Texas or South Carolina. Is judicial ignorance of technology creeping North?
    One post says that this judge is just following the law, one must not forget that the judicial system IS NOT the justice system and that common sense, justice and basic fairness no longer applies .... to anything. I doubt the judge is on the take in any way but I'm sure he is surrounded by those who are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Josh Ribakoff, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    the judge

    clearly has never used the internets

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    teknosapien (profile), Sep 10th, 2009 @ 3:30pm

    Re: How to

    how about faxing aforementioned code over in a very small font

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    dtynan (profile), Sep 10th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    CMSs and big IT apps

    Based on my reading of their patent, it looks like this would affect some CMS (content management systems), like a Drupal (initial release in 2001). Also, some big IT apps, that went web-based early would probably fall under this (ridiculous) patent, like the PeopleSoft HR Management System (the web-based version 8 was around 2001). There's bound to be several examples of prior art (for what that's worth on patents), that do the same thing. The real culprit here is software patents. Good luck enforcing those in China & India by the way ... we should just get rid of them entirely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Dumb or Incompetent, but not both?, Sep 10th, 2009 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Anyone Who Has Ever...

    Is saying that the person who approved the patent is both "dumb" and "incompetent" considered using two categories?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    hmm, Sep 11th, 2009 @ 5:15am

    >>Re: can you say money grab?
    >>by Dave
    >>If he was affiliated with Leader in some way he would >>have recused himself.

    So judges who take bribes and are in the pocket of unscrupulous organizations always excuse themselves from a trial if its a conflict of interest?

    What a fascinating world you live in, where everyones innocent, no-one takes backhanders and screws over justice, and there's sunshine and kittens everywhere you go!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    mos3abof, Sep 12th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    This is totally insane

    This is totall nonesense!! I am one of the people who reject the idea of patents in software because it is a mess. Copyright is welcome but why the hell patent software?!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Insider, Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 8:33pm

    I know this story from the 1996 beginnings

    McKibben thinks he invented everything. There is not a moment in time that he sees a successful venture, and he does not claim he had that idea 10 years before the founder of the successful venture.

    Leader Technologies is being sued by the state of Ohio and countless numbers of former investors, directors and employees. There is no love for this entrepreneur. He is reviled by a very long list of people. His company faces bankruptcy because the government froze his accounts and garnished his customers, unwilling to play his games of deceptions any more. He keeps pissing off as many people as he can, anyone he comes across.

    McKibben's patent is frivolous, and even the system described isn't his invention. Nothing ever is. It was probably invented by employees and associates in 1997 predating his patent filing. Some employees likely had no formal agreement to assign any of the "technology" to McKibben or the company.

    Facebook should look into those that wrote up the system described there for him over the years prior to the patent filing, thus invalidating the claims that it is an original idea. That's the easiest way to break Leader's claims. At the very least, get the court to order Leader to disclose potential inventors of the patented technology pre-dating the patent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    irishpoetry, Aug 30th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    Source Code

    I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it including all the comments and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

    irishpoems

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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