by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 3rd 2009 8:44am
Another day, another ridiculous situation brought on by patents. Back in November, we wrote about how a company almost no one had ever heard of, called Leader Technologies (name not descriptive of the company) had sued Facebook for patent infringement over Patent 7,139,761 on associating a piece of data with multiple categories. As broad and obvious as that appears to be, it struck us that the whole lawsuit appeared to be a publicity stunt by this no-name company. Yet, for a publicity stunt, things may be getting troublesome. A magistrate judge has ordered Facebook to turn over its source code to the other company. Now, whatever you think of proprietary source code vs. open source, it doesn't seem right that a service like Facebook, which does a lot of different things with its service, should be required to turn over its entire source code to some tiny company with an overly broad patent. It sounds like Facebook is fighting this, as it should. I could understand (maybe) such an order if there were a charge of copyright infringement and direct copying of source code -- but a patent infringement claim shouldn't need source code.
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