Patent Office Is Friendster's Friend

from the they're-ba-ack dept

The former champ of the social networking space, Friendster, may finally have a way to claw back at the sites that have overtaken it: patent litigation. The company announced today that it has received a broad patent for a “system, method, and apparatus for connecting users in an online computer system based on their relationships within social networks.” In other words, it’s basically a patent on online social networking. At this point, the company hasn’t explicitly stated that it intends to sue anyone, though the company says it will protect its intellectual property, which isn’t hard to interpret. Amusingly, the company claimed to have forgotten it had every applied for the patent, which is odd since from the nascent days of the space, the various players were fighting about who owned what intellectual property. The coming legal battles (in our crystal ball, we’re seeing a court in East Texas for some reason) could prove interesting. First of all, there could be prior art on this “technology” as Friendster wasn’t even the first social networking site. But even if the patent were granted legitimately, it’s intuitive how this patent would be more of a hindrance than an incentive for innovation. Of course, if the patent system is designed to act as a consolation prize to companies that fail, then it’s doing its job just fine.

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Comments on “Patent Office Is Friendster's Friend”

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Infested Templar says:

one thing that would go a long way to help this problem with patents would be to reduce the duration. Something like maybe 10 years for physical inventions, maybe 2 years for software stuff. If you don’t do anything with it in 2 years you may as well not have it in the IT industry as it moves so quickly (and this would speed it up more).

The worst though is buisness model patents. There is no point in them except to stifle competition. I’d like to see someone try to claim that people wouldn’t invent different buisness models witout patents. Endless competition and coppying is what promotes the speed of inovation in buisness models to allow people to stay ahead. Wich leads to the same point about other patents….

Perhaps scrapping patents alltogether would be going a bit to far but it would be at least 90% better then the current situation with patents.

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