Facebook Sued For Patent Infringement For Online Photo Albums

from the the-patent-system,-she-is-broken dept

A few years back, patent troll FotoMedia sued dozens of companies that hosted photos online for patent infringement. Many were small mom-and-pop outfits who could barely afford a lawyer to deal with this sort of thing. Some even talked of leaving the country, since running a business in the US became too expensive due to such patent trolling lawsuits. Still, many firms settled, because that’s cheaper than fighting. The FotoMedia shakedown got extra attention this summer, as it was the opening vignette on This American Life’s story about our broken patent system.

The “company” has apparently been quiet for a while, but recently targeted a big fish: it’s now suing Facebook for patent infringement for the mortal sin of letting people create photo albums online. It’s also suing MySpace, as if that site still exists, and some others. Obviously, the main target is Facebook. Facebook has been hit with a bunch of patent suits, as has any tech company that has been moderately successful, and has tended to fight back. Hopefully that continues in this case.

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Companies: facebook, fotomedia

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Comments on “Facebook Sued For Patent Infringement For Online Photo Albums”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“It’s also suing MySpace, as if that site still exists”

Although the complete demise of MySpace is conventional wisdom, in reality MySpace currently has 70 million users worldwide and 33 million in the U.S and an estimate of $183 million in revenue this year. You might as well talk about AOL and Yahoo in only the past tense as well.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Read the article I linked to. They, or rather Specific Media and Justin Timberlake, are attempting to go back to the roots of MySpace where a major focus was on music and bands. I think it makes sense for a person to use multiple social networks, particularly for compartmentalizing their social contacts. Facebook intentionally discourages such compartmentalization. Although I have 2 MySpace accounts, I cannot claim to know how the interface and community have evolved. I created the accounts only to monitor packet transfers and look for technical vulnerabilities. I had an idea to create a kind of modern novel with each character having a MySpace account and linked only to other characters within the “book”. However, that idea fell by the wayside with personal time constraints.

MySpace also still allows one to create an account with an alias rather than your true name. I had a Facebook account for 8 minutes in order to contact an old acquaintance. The account was frozen by software surveillance after 8 minutes because my name was suspected to be fictitious. I thought “Conifer Tweed” was rather nice and rolled off the tongue well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I think even when it works it doesn’t work. “

I completely agree. Here is just about the only example of a (relatively recent) good patent that I’ve seen and somehow our system even managed to botch that. Imagine. Maybe the only example of a good patent and our system still manages to mess things up. Unbelievable. Can’t we do anything right?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and I’m not speaking on Mike’s behalf, but this is an example of the patent system working. The whole idea of the patent system was to make people pay one person/entity/group for coming up with something (increasing costs) or to not use that idea (holding back progress). That’s what is going on here.

Some will claim that patents were meant to “promote the progress”, or to be an incentive for creation that would not otherwise get done, but after centuries of this garbage, we ought to be able to see that it does neither. By definition, patents hold back progress. Patents do nothing to spur creation, only to increase costs and/or slow down progress.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“can you give us an example, *any* example, of the patent system working?”

Why do IP maximists always want other people to do their work for them?

I can’t innovate, so I’ll simply get a patent and when Facebook does all the work and innovates, I’ll take their money through frivolous lawsuits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ok so by your logic, owning a patent means you will troll. You’re retarded. You even tried to spin my words. The question wasn’t meant for you, yet you felt the urge to come here, whine without bringing any valid argument or answer, and try to call me an IP maximalist. So for you, anyone asking Mike his opinion a legit patent question means we’re lazy maximalists.

You sir, failed. Seriously. Go back to slashdot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I can’t help but notice that you missed an answer.

And maybe the answer is that the patent system simply sucks and there aren’t very many good patent examples.

Besides, it’s hard to take your question seriously when your comment seems sarcastic and fixated at cussing at Mike and criticizing the fact that he’s criticizing the patent system (without criticizing his actual criticisms). Your comment isn’t intended to be a serious comment asking for serious answers, it’s a comment designed more or less to attack Mike.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Do they really count as the patent system working? John Walker refused to patent his idea and still made a small fortune. Frank Whittle’s turbojet engine didn’t really take off (no pun intended) until after the patent expired. He didn’t have the money to develop it so it just kinda sat there unused and locked down.

Anonymous Coward says:

Our legal system rewards the failures (patent trolls, government established monopolists) and punishes the successful.




and you wonder why this country is failing.

staff says:

another biased article

?Patent troll?

Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, etc. It all means one thing: ?we?re using your invention and we?re not going to pay?. This is just dissembling by large infringers to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft.

Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don?t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.

Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-

They sell blog filler and “insights” to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world?s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don?t have any.

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