Sierra_Dad - 11:18 pm on Feb 26, 2010 (gmt 0)
This patent is a perfect example of that. It's a very basic, obvious, thing that now no other (US?) social network can do, and therefore they can't give their users the features they will have come to expect.
As bad as this is, though, it is only half the battle.
Having a patent granted has no guarantee that you would be able to exclude someone. The strength of the patent will be tested only when (and if) FaceBook sues someone else.
A good defense lawyer will attempt to invalidate the patent by showing prior art from you or someone else prior to August 2006.
Note - I am not a patent lawyer - nor do I play one on TV, but I have known some.
In the meantime, don't mention in internal memos that you *might* be in violation of Facebooks patent. They'll get subpoenaed.