|Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over "Like" Button|
|Facebook is facing legal action over its use of the "like" button and other features of the social network. |
It is being sued by a patent-holding company acting on behalf of a dead Dutch programmer called Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer.
Rembrandt Social Media said Facebook's success was based, in part, on using two of Mr Van Der Meer's patents without permission.
Facebook said it had no comment to make on the lawsuit or its claims.
A lawsuit has been filed in a federal court in Virginia by Rembrandt Social Media. Facebook Faces Lawsuit Over "Like" Button [bbc.co.uk]
I donít understand the concept of a patent regarding a button. I can see reasoning for some sort of protection surrounding the logic that occurs when a user clicks it, but not on the concept as a whole. Maybe I should try and patent the "submit" button.
|It is being sued by a patent-holding company acting on behalf of a dead Dutch programmer called Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer. |
How is it possible for a company to act 'on behalf of' someone dead?
I don't understand the concept of a patent regarding software... copyright, yes - but a patent?
You have to look at the process that happens when you press the button. If pressing the like button results in a specific set of actions then that can be patented, and apparently was. Pressing the like button causes specific things to happen and that's what was patented, not the button itself which is essentially just an image link.
Patents don't become void simply because the registering party dies, I don't see that aspect of the case as a problem though I'm sure Facebook will argue it anyway.
I'm not a lawyer though and it's obvious that no judge will ever force Facebook to stop allowing people to like things, it would impact too many people. This is a money grab, it will surely be settled out of court.
I'm going to patent the "want" button and sue FB and anyone else who tries to use it.
|copyright, yes - but a patent? |
A copyright would only protect the exact wording of the code. Put it in a different language, or rewrite the code, and the copyright is gone. If you want to cover the function, you'll need a patent.
A simple analogy is that you can't copyright a recipe; you can only copyright the exact wording you use in your cookbook. The recipe itself requires a patent-- and then, of course, you'd have to prove that nobody else ever though of mixing cream cheese and Dr Pepper.
Or, conversely: Sure you could copyright the working drawings for your invention. Faster and cheaper than a patent. But unless the thing is so phenomenally complicated that it can't possibly be built without the original plans, you haven't prevented anyone else from making the same thing.
|it's obvious that no judge will ever force Facebook to stop allowing people to like things, it would impact too many people |
A judge should uphold the law, regardless of how many people it inconveniences.
A summary of what is wrong with the patent system!
Lucy, you analogy breaks down because what is patented, especially in the case of software patents, is not a mechanism for achieve a result, but the results them selves: e.g. Amazon's one click patent.