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Summary:

Friendster just wrote in to tell us it has been granted a second social networking patent. The patent basically covers uploading a photo and associating it with someone you are connected to on an online social network. Friendster also claims it should extend to “videos, audio, […]

Friendster just wrote in to tell us it has been granted a second social networking patent. The patent basically covers uploading a photo and associating it with someone you are connected to on an online social network. Friendster also claims it should extend to “videos, audio, comments, and any other content type, supported in public or private forums, within a social network.” There’s no comment so far about the company’s plans to pursue enforcement. Though people can’t stop rehashing its failures, Friendster is hoping it call pull Act II of the distraction campaign that won quite a lot of press and 10 million bucks from its VCs.

  1. Hopefully “Friendster” is a reader of comments, and they see this;

    I hope “Friendster” falls. I hope they fall so hard that they have no money to actually persue any legal claims.

    I am all for competition, but trying to block it by granting such an open patent is beyond reasonable. Why don’t they just patent actual relationships and require that anyone who has a friend must pay royalty, or assess fees on marriages?

    Purely stupid, and I wish the worst of luck to “Friendster”.

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  2. maybe they’re doing everybody a favor by shedding light on how ridiculous software patents can be…

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  3. No matter, but they can make a shit load of money enforcing the patent. Read this: TVI versus Microsoft – The Autoplay Case .

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  4. You gotta be kidding me. Like no one has ever thought of doing this before??? The patent office has reached new heights of ridiculousness.

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  5. Good for friendster, one step closer to begin the legal onslaught.

    First step, estimate legal cost for both sides.

    Step two, find optimization point.

    Step three, offer a license.

    Step four, sue the idiots who do not realize the cost effectiveness of a license.

    Step five, founders enroll in marketing classes :)

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  6. This ‘concept’ they’ve patented, has it never been done before? It seems so obvious I can’t believe a social site of some sort over the years hasn’t already done it, in which case shouldn’t the patent be stripped from them? I guess finding who did it first could be a very difficult thing to do.

    Craziness of the highest order!

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  7. So I wonder when someone is going to go after YouTube for playing videos over the Internet…that must be patented somewhere too – I saw that being done in trials 10 years ago!

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  8. Patent Office Really Wants To Be Friendster’s Friend…

    Over the summer, Friendster received a very broad patent for social networking, even though it seemed…

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  9. The US patent system is truly sick and needs to be reformed asap.

    Not to defend the ridiculous of this situtation but patent office may simply be seriously lack of people to do a proper job. According to a former patent examiner, they only get about on average a day on a patent. See the length post (and the comment of this patent exminer) here,
    http://kempton.ideasRevolution.com/2006/08/25/wikipedia-and-us-patent-trademark-office/#comments

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  10. Friendster and a really sick US patent system…

    Just read from Liz that Friendster has been granted a second social networking patent. Liz said, “The patent basically covers uploading a photo and associating it with someone you are connected to on an online social network. Friendster also cla…

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  11. OK, let’s break down what claim 1 really says.

    If you read the required elements of the claim, it is for a system where a second user provides content (e.g. a photo, video, etc) about a first user and if the second user isn’t a ‘friend’ of the first user (in terms of # of degrees), then the first user has to agree to the content being posted.

    I don’t understand all the community elements of every social networking site, but of what I’ve seen, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr don’t appear to do what is patented.

    So this is a question for the reader group: What site does that? Specifically, who ASKS another user about content tagged to them, I can think of a few, but I’d be interested in the interpretation on how broad this claim really can be read.

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  12. Good luck with that!

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  13. Good Luck Friendster…

    As no one can live without Friendster, we hope it will get a bunch if money out of the social and community related patents (see Techdirt or GigaOM)…

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  14. Friendster patentē…

    Labi, ka Eiropā nav legalizēti progammatūras patenti. Friendster ieguvuši kārtējo. Šoreiz par bilžu augšupielādi sociālajos tīklos un tās sasaistīšanu ar savu draugu lokā esošu personu. Būtībā lieta, ko uz patenta pieteikšanas…

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  15. @CoryS12

    LinkedIn allows comments (appraisals) from other users that require approval by the user.

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  16. If you read the required elements of the claim,
    it is for a system where a second user provides
    content (e.g. a photo, video, etc) about a first
    user and if the second user isn’t a ‘friend’ of
    the first user (in terms of # of degrees), then
    the first user has to agree to the content being
    posted.

    This is very close to what Facebook currently has.

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  17. I don’t have time to read the patent, but I hope they are claiming the actual method of implementing such a system, not patenting the concept. If the patent office allowed them to claim the concept, that is simply ridiculous.

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  18. when you are in social networking business, bad reputation could take away users and kill you.

    I dont think friendster will take any legal actions directly but they have a weapon now and they will need to use it wisely.

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  19. [...] I’ve had to advise more than one client on the validity, importance and threat of Friendster’s ’social networking patents’. [...]

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  20. Is friendster even still around? They had the market with both hands and lost a sure grip. Looks like they’re scrambling to pick up a few pieces for their angry investors.

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  21. They sure are…they’re the biggest social network in asia and the 3rd largest social network on the planet.

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  22. [...] GigaOm] SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Friendster Gets Another Social Networking Patent", url: [...]

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  23. [...] Facebook, which said in a statement it was “humbled” and “pleased” by the patent, may well choose not to enforce it. In fact, one of the more important social networking patents, from the early site Six Degrees, was bought by LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and Tribe.net/Zynga’s Mark Pincus explicitly to promote an open playing field for the sector by taking it away from people who might choose to enforce it in the courts. However Friendster, which was recently bought by a Malaysian company, made much of the fact that had obtained five U.S. social networking patents, at times using the patents to scare off the competition, at least in the press. [...]

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