Because Without Patents, No One Would Ever Come Up With News Feeds

from the no-status-updates-allowed dept

A bunch of folks are talking about a patent that was recently granted to Facebook (7,669,123) that covers creating an automatically generated news feed based on things that you do. While not quite as broad as some of the original reports claimed, it's still fairly broad, and highlights pretty clearly how ridiculous the patent system is.

The purpose of the patent system should be to create incentives to come up with something that is both new and non-obvious, which would not be created without that incentive. And, then, of course, the idea is to share that information with the world, via the patent. But here we have a case where this is an obvious next step advance. Such automatically generated news feeds are found in all sorts of systems and social networks these days. But now we have a case where one company may have the right to prevent others from doing what it makes perfect sense for them to do. That's not what the patent system was designed to do at all. A patent like this should never have been approved at all, as it serves no useful purpose in "promoting the progress" and seems to go against everything that the patent system is supposed to do.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:21am

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  2.  
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    Mhrwra, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:26am

    Not sure why, but comment #1 had me ROTFL.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:28am

    Re:

    I think it was the word "ridiculous" in the tail end of the first paragraph.

     

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  4.  
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    jssglsljksblewbl, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:31am

    Re: Re:

    Hmmm. Patent Bear to the rescue?

     

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  5.  
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    Mario, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Patent Bear, PedoBear... same thing really:)))))

    For those of you who are not familiar with (or even heard of) 4chan, that, over there, is PedoBear:D. Check this out to confirm your suspicions about PedoBear: http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Pedobear

    I can hardly wait for the moment when patents will be considered by the general population as being on the same level of evilness as pedophilia:D.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:53am

    I think that bear is running to the right column.

    What are the bets for this Friday?

    Because Wednesday and Thursday were light for Techdirt, Here's the calculated odds as of 3:00AM Pacific Time.
    To place your bet, call Caesars at 702-731-7172

    # articles
    16 new articles 22:1
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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:00am

    Re:

    FYI, these are odds for new articles posted between Feb 26th at 12:01.00 AM to Feb 26th 8:01.00 PM, Pacific time as of 3:00.00 AM Pacific Time.
    NOTE: ODDS CAN CHANGE FROM MINUTE TO MINUTE. For current odds, please call the bookie at Caesars- 702-731-7172

     

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  8.  
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    Anubhav Chattoraj, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:03am

    Re: Re:

    Wow. Techdirt spam. Just what we needed...

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hurry, man. The odds are changing! Usually Mike rubs another article out by now.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Okay, okay, you're right. This should actually be posted over at TrollinTime.org so it doesn't distract Mike from making articles.

    Man, my bookie is going to kill me.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:17am

    I've been asked to remind techdirt readers that it's only legal to place bets where it's legal by your state and federal law.

    Play responsibly!

    Gambling problem? Call 1-800-742-0443 or visit http://www.ncpgambling.org

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:24am

    AI for music.

    http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-02/composers-music-making-machine-stirs-controversy-ab out-creative-originality

    Empirical proof that creativity is based on the work of others.

    The real genius spark is the realization that innovation comes from unification of others efforts or works.

    I was reading about the spinning mule and how it was invented, and how rarely in the 18 century that saw a boom in textiles manufacturing ever protected IP.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:25am

    AI for music.

    http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-02/composers-music-making-machine-stirs-controversy-ab out-creative-originality

    Empirical proof that creativity is based on the work of others.

    The real genius spark is the realization that innovation comes from unification of others efforts or works.

    I was reading about the spinning mule and how it was invented, and how rarely in the 18 century that saw a boom in textiles manufacturing ever protected IP.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    .............0_
    ..............`......___
    .................../.__>0
    .........../../..|/'./.
    .. ......../../...`..,`'--.
    ........././(___________)_.
    .........|/.//.-.....-.\..
    .........0.//.:@. ___.@:.\./
    ...........(.o.^(___)^.o.).0
    ............._______/./
    ......../...'._______.'--.
    ..... ..../|..|....|
    ..........__|____/|__
    ..........___________/
    ..............|....|
    ..............| ....|
    ..............:____:
    ............./..../|
    ............/..../.|
    .........../___________/..|
    ...........|...........|._|__
    ...........|...........|.---||_
    ...........|...|L/|/..|..|.[__]
    . ..........|..||||..|../
    ...........|...........|./
    ...........|___________|/

     

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  15.  
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    Michial Thompson, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    What is the process

    Just curious little mikee, why don't you write a short little article on the process for disputing a patents validity, and then go on a campaign to dispute patents like this.

    Wouldn't that also be productive??? At least more productive than just crying about them.

     

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  16.  
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    Michial Thompson, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:09am

    Patent Invalidation

    Little mikee;

    Here is an idea that would both actually assist you in raising awareness of your agenda, AND is well within your means and even demonstrates validity of your "croud sourcing" posts.

    This site has a huge anti-IP following, and you do seem to do a good job of bringing rediculous patent's such as this one out of thin air. So why not also put together a ancillary page that lists the patents such as this, as well as allows users to submit prior art examples. Then when you have enough examples you simply submit them to the patent office for review in an effort to get the patent invalidated.

    Or better yet you provide a nice form letter that your following can each submit with the prior art that they find.

    Here is a link I found that gives what is probably a VERY over simplified outline of the process:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5393679_invalidate-patent.html

    If it is nothing more than a letter, it only costs $.44 to send a letter, and this seems like a perfect way to put croud sourcing to good work.

     

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  17.  
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    REM(RND) (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:15am

    Texas patent toast

    Now we all get to sit back and watch the lawsuits out of East Texas in regards to this. It appears that every company that ever owned a patent on anything is suing everyone else for creating something that they couldn't. Maybe we need to just do away with all this crap and let people create what they want. If they manage to make money at it, kudos. If I decide to take an existing object and repurpose it to do something else, I'm afraid to patent it or tell anyone about it. Odds are that I'd get sued.

    On another note, what's with all the spam lately on these forums? Pedobear, weird betting stuff, as well as nonsensical ramblings (First post here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100225/0303338302.shtml#comments ). I smell a conspiracy! And bacon. Mmmmm... bacon....

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:21am

    Re:

    So now IP maximists have given up on logic and are now trying to use subliminal messages.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:35am

    Re: AI for music.

    Crows do the same thing.

    "Crows are smart and adaptable. For example, they drop nuts on streets so cars run over them, then wait for the traffic signal to change so they can pick up the food. Other crows who see this happen quickly learn how to do this for themselves. "

    http://boingboing.net/2008/02/29/ted-2008-crow-vendin.html

    Someone also made a crow vending machine that required someone to put coins inside the machine to get peanuts. At first none of the crows would figure it out immediately. However, eventually ONE crow figures it out and all the others copy. The fact that the first crow got copied did not hinder it from innovating.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re:

    great, more IP maximist subliminal messages. They must be desperate. I suspect their subliminal messages will work about as good as their broken logic. but I don’t expect IP maximists to have enough logic to figure this out.

     

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  21.  
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    Michael Bazelewick (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Guess anything can get through the USPTO

    OK guys, you heard it here first ... pasta in the shape of guns ... Name: "gangsta"

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    crows do not do same thing

    ya see we tested your theory and they all died of starvation
    thanks to you 400000 crows died

    YOU ARE A SICK PUPPY to abuse animals in this fashion

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 6:43am

    Re: What is the process

    Well, I suppose, based on your logic, we should eliminate all newspapers then, since doing something other than informing the public is more productive.

     

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  24.  
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    diabolic, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 7:16am

    Here is 2010 this patent makes no sense. But back in 2006 (or probably earlier) when they came up with the idea it may have actually been novel (still does not mean it deserved a patent). They did not get the patent until 4 years after applying. A lot of the issues surrounding patents would go away if applications got processed faster and the legnth of a patent was much shorter. Would Mike be pointing out this patent if it had been issued in 2007 and expired in 2011?

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 7:22am

    Re:

    Even in 2006 and I assume even before that RSS feeds existed, and they existed on Blogging sites all over. They even existed on news sites too.

    All they are doing is taking the users posts and turning them into an RSS feed

     

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  26.  
    icon
    aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Feb 26th, 2010 @ 7:30am

    Re:

    Back in 2006 it was still old news. RSS 0.9 came out in 1999. Pointcast went into beta in February of 1996, and it was basically a screen saver that aggregated news.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: What is the process

    Little mikee m has an agenda, and that agenda is to make money. It has nothing to do with informing the public, or doing anything about IP.

    If it had to do with informing the public, his stories would be complete, and not just harping on the parts of other peoples articles that further his anti-ip agenda.

    He runs on and on at the keyboard about how all these companies need to change their business models, he points to a few isolated examples of success.

    I have challenged him several times to put his crap to the test. Here is another example, even went so far as to give him the entire idea and even admit that it might work....

    And here is the best part, it would actually do something about the crap he crys and pouts about on here. Basically it would prove he really wants to make a difference rather than make a buck.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    diabolic, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    I don't support this patent. I just think that in hindsight its obvious but it may have not been so obvious at the time. Both of you bring up RSS, they did not patent RSS here. Perhaps at the time the concept that user updates to social networking profiles is 'news' and worthy of a stream of updates was new/novel - still does not mean it deserves a patent. Sure there are lots of examples of aggregated news streams but perhaps not as applied to social networking. The patent is not super general, it applies specifically to updates to user profiles on a social netowrking site - that has nothing to do with RSS and news in general.

    My point was that if it expired next year we probably wouldn't be talking about it. Let's fix the system to solve the problem, it will diminish the effect of bad patents. At the same time, let's raise the bar on what it takes to get a patent.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: What is the process

    "Little mikee m has an agenda, and that agenda is to make money. It has nothing to do with informing the public, or doing anything about IP."

    Plus...

    "If it had to do with informing the public, his stories would be complete, and not just harping on the parts of other peoples articles that further his anti-ip agenda."

    Wow. You managed to make yourself look completely stupid in such a short time.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: What is the process

    The world has an anti-IP agenda, or haven't you looked at the state of the world lately?

    All those pro-ACTA groups springing up all over the place, screaming, "We want ACTA! We want ACTA!"

    Oh, sorry, it's just the opposite of that.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    8, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    Look, Mr Flakebook himself! Posting here!
    One would think a billionaire internetboy would have
    more to do with his time?

    Sorry, forgot who we were talking about here.

    Shouldn't you out stealing hubcaps or something?

     

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  32.  
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    Michial Thompson, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re:

    The sinple fact that the "prior art" exististed and was wide spread before the application for the Patent existed should satisfy the fact that the patent was not "non-obvious" in nature. It should also prove that it was nothing new at the time the patent was applied for.

    I would think based on that the patent would and should be invalidated.

    Patents on Software and business processes really shouldn't exist anyway, but they do so the best we can do is simply to negate their affect.

    As far as patents in General their life is 25 years if I remember right I would think that is just about right really.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2010 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    For patents that were applied for after 1995, the term is 20 years from the date of the first application. Honestly, given the pace of progress, I think that is way too long. Just look at how far technology has come in the last 20 years.

     

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  34.  
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    staff, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 8:50pm

    shill!!!!!!!

    "folks are talking about a patent that was recently granted to Facebook (7,669,123) that covers creating an automatically generated news feed"

    Masnick, would you please just sit down and shut up. That phrase is in no claim of the patent. Therefore, it does not cover what you stated. You know nothing about patents. All you know is what the invention thieves pay you to say. Gawd you're a shill!!

     

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  35.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 28th, 2010 @ 3:53pm

    Re: shill!!!!!!!

    Masnick, would you please just sit down and shut up.

    I am sitting, and thank you, I will not shut up.

    That phrase is in no claim of the patent.

    It's called a summary, Steve. It describes, in general, what the patent covers. The fact that the exact phrase is not in a claim does not mean anything. And you know that.

    Therefore, it does not cover what you stated.

    Are you saying that the claims in the patent do not cover a method for creating a news feed? Please do explain.

    You know nothing about patents.

    You keep saying that. I keep asking for details, but oddly, you never provide any. I wonder why...

    All you know is what the invention thieves pay you to say. Gawd you're a shill!!

    Again, no one pays me to say what I say. And the companies you keep insisting I am a "shill" for, actually support patent reform that I do not, and I have spoken out against them as well.

    I have pointed this out to you in the past. I am therefore surprised that you would continue to make such a false assertion.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: AI for music.

    How long in the evolution process before crows invent patents?

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2010 @ 8:38am

    Re: What is the process

    Oh the irony! Are you jealous because you don't have a monopoly on having an agenda? Or copyright? Or patent? Or something?

     

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