Online Communities Patented; Lawsuit Against Facebook Moves Forward
from the online-communities-of-interest? dept
It’s always fun to see patent system defenders in our comments insist that the patent system rarely makes mistakes in issuing patents, and how really bad patents get pushed out upon review. And yet… then we hear stories like the following one. Four guys, back in 2001 filed for a patent (6,519,629) on a “system for creating a community for users with common interests to interact in.” Seriously. Reading through the patent application, I’m having trouble seeing how this wasn’t covered by a ton of prior art. What in that patent does not apply to early BBS systems, for example? And, even if there really is something new (I can’t find anything), how is putting together an online community not an obvious thing?
Back in 2007, the company holding that patent, Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, sued Facebook. In turn, Facebook asked for the trial to be held up while it explained to some patent examiners that they were insane to think this was patentable. Apparently, the patent examiners haven’t used the internet very much, and affirmed the validity of the patent — so the lawsuit is now back on. This is just one in a growing series of patent lawsuits against Facebook — once again highlighting that once you get big enough to be noticed, some nobody will sue you for patent infringement.