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Facebook has been granted a patent on the Newsfeed, "displaying a news feed in a social network environment." Nick O'Neill at AllFacebook found the patent first and says it could be "one of the most significant social web patents" in a decade.
If all algorithmic ranking and delivery of social activity updates to social network users falls under this patent Facebook applied for in August 2006 (one month before it launched its controversial Newsfeed) then there's going to be a whole lot of trouble for sites all over the web.
it's not going to come out exactly the same.
I'm surprised CSS designs aren't being copyrighted since it IS copyable and is more original then the news feed.
Are you saying you'd be perfectly happy if one day a feature on your site was patented by a major company and then they contact you saying "Yeah...this is our idea now. Remove our idea from your site."
I'm just saying that the patent could lead to more dumb patents and more restrictions on what people can do.
Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network
The patent AFAIK is not even about displaying general news or limiting the display of general news to a set of viewers. It's about turning what someone does (plays a game, joins a group, adds a friend, etc.) into news and displaying it to a set of users.
If anyday I wish to build a networking site and provide this feature in that site but then this patient speaks. It says No, i can't do it. Providing update to others is strictly prohibited.
IMO the simplest workaround to Claim 1 of the patent allowing you to effectively do the same thing is to not attach the stinking link to the news item,
A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising:
monitoring a plurality of activities in a social network environment;
monitoring the plurality of activities in a database;
generating a plurality of news items regarding one or more of the activities, 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;
limiting access to the plurality of news items to a set of viewing users;
and displaying a news feed comprising two or more of the plurality of news items to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewing users.
Many think the patent is clearly invalid since it appears to cover all News Feeds. That's not true. It only covers news feeds where a link is provided so that one user can participate in the "same activity" as another user.
“What happens if prior art is found”
[edited by: engine at 3:40 pm (utc) on Mar 10, 2010]
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