Facebook Sued For Patent Infringement

from the welcome-to-the-big-time dept

It's pretty much a rite of passage for any tech company these days, as you get larger and more recognized, some company that has an overly broad and probably obvious patent will sue you for patent infringement. For the company in question, the lawsuit is as much a publicity event as it is an attempt to squeeze revenue from an actual innovator. The latest example of this is with an Ohio company no one's heard of called Leader Technologies, who is suing Facebook for patent infringement, and was kind enough to send out a press release announcing this before Facebook even got to see the lawsuit. Clearly, this is a publicity stunt.

As for the patent itself, it basically describes the rather obvious process of associating a piece of data with multiple categories. It's almost surprising that the company is suing Facebook instead of Google. While I'm not a heavy Facebook user, I'm not sure where Facebook uses such a system. Google, however, has made widespread use of a similar idea with its Gmail "labels." The idea is that rather than sorting data into a specific folder or category, it can be associated with multiple categories. If that seems rather obvious and ridiculously broad, well, that's the patent system for you these days.
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Filed Under: associations, data, patents, publicity stunt
Companies: facebook, leader technologies

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2008 @ 7:37am

    Let me see if I have this right. A company, Leader Technologies, files a provisional application in 2002, converts it into a regular application in 2003, has the patent issue in 2006, along the way has to distinguish how its invention differs from other inventions by lunimaries such as Xerox, Microsoft, IBM, and MCI (among others), has a technology savvy examiner in the patent office go back and forth over about 3 years time to narrow the patent claims so that the distinguish over the prior art in terms of both novelty and nonobviousness, asserts the patent against a company it believes may be infringing the patent, and then has techdirt come along and opine by a non-technical person lacking substantive technical knowledge in the details of the described and claimed subject matter that the patent is "rather obvious"...once again implying that yet another unwarranted patent has issued.

    Seriously, Mr. Masnick, are you such an expert in the technology field that you can make such a statement without even having reviewed the application as originally filed, together with the file wrapper history associated with its prosecution before the patent office?

    I urge you to stick with your economic arguments and view that patents and copyrights are "monopolies", and resist the urge to dip your feet into "legal waters in which you have no substantive experience. The former is within your area of expertise. The latter most certainly is not.

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