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Summary:

A little-known white-label mobile social network company is suing Google and Facebook for patent infringement. Wireless Ink, maker of Winksite, says it owns the intellectual property for enabling users to join social networks from their mobile phones through a patent awarded in October 2009.

A little-known white-label mobile social network company is suing Google and Facebook for patent infringement. Wireless Ink, maker of Winksite, claims it owns the intellectual property for enabling users to join social networks from their mobile phones through a patent awarded in October 2009.

Wireless Ink claims the two companies had to have known about the patent, the application for which was made public back in 2004, “given the time and resources defendants have invested in their desktop and mobile Web sites as well as their strategic importance,” Bloomberg quotes the complaint as saying. Facebook has said the suit is without merit and Google said it’s busy reviewing it.

Wireless Ink is reportedly seeking cash damages and an injunction against use of the technology. You’d think — if the patent is found valid — the company would license it out, given that mobile sign-ups are compelling, and increasingly so as handset browsers become better and social networking reaches into regions and demographics where PCs are less common.

Here’s the patent in question: “Method, apparatus and system for management of information content for enhanced accessibility over wireless communication networks.” The lawsuit, filed in New York, does not seem to have appeared yet online as a public court document.

Facebook and Google also like to register IP themselves; most recently, Facebook was awarded a patent for its news feed, and Google a patent for location-based advertising.

Image courtesy of Walknboston on Flickr.

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By Liz Gannes

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  1. Real pioneering work by Wireless Ink. Not at all obvious.

    Some patent examiner should be asked to prove he has his GED.

  2. Please please please Facebook and Google.
    Send a battery of lawyers, spend millions, run this company out of business.

    For all our sakes.

  3. Wow. I love both Paul and Brian’s comments, seemingly at-odds as they are.

    It really proves again that software patents are a bad idea, and that the ridiculous news feed patent Facebook got a few weeks ago ( http://answerguy.com/2010/02/25/patents-must-be-unique-facebook-7669123/ )really shouldn’t have been issued at all

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