TheMadScientist - 5:14 pm on Feb 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
To the best of my knowledge, to infringe on a patent someone must reuse an entire claim, which in this case includes:
generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities [creating a news item(s) based on user activity] wherein one or more of the news items is for presentation to one or more viewing users and relates to an activity that was performed by another user
attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user;
The FaceBook Patent [patft.uspto.gov]
IMO, Someone could do exactly what FaceBook does as long as they did not attach a link to a 'news item' allowing the person seeing the 'news' to participate in the activity of the 'news item'.
IMO, Someone could do exactly the same thing if they do not make user activity 'news'.
IMO, It's not a patent on a basic scrolling news feed and there are some very specific things someone would have to do to infringe on the patent. IMO, It's not at all analogous to taking a pizza order for delivery over the phone...