Friendster Patents Social Networks - The RSS Blog
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Copyright 2003-5 Randy Charles Morin
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Fri, 07 Jul 2006 23:50:24 GMT
Friendster Patents Social Networks
The U.S. patent, which was awarded June 27, is extremely general, and would seem to cover the activities of many other sites, especially those like LinkedIn that allow people to connect within a certain number of degrees of separation. Naming Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams, who has left the company, as inventor, the patent refers to a “system, method, and apparatus for connecting users in an online computer system based on their relationships within social networks.” [cut]
The new Friendster patent covers the basic steps involved in joining a social network: entering a personal description and relationships to other users, mapping relationships and degrees of separation, and connecting to others through these friends. [cut]
Six Degrees of Separation, another failed social networking startup, had obtained a patent on social networking technology in 2001. It was bought at auction in 2003 by the founders of LinkedIn and Tribe.net. The Six Degrees patent is cited as a reference in Friendster’s patent, indicating the U.S. Patent & Trademark examiner did not find that the two patents overlap.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=17498&hed=Friendster+Wins+Patent

Friendster could use this patent to become a predator in the patent game, but since LinkedIn and Tribe.net already own earlier patents in social networking, they could be used to fend off Friendster. Everybody else is fair game and likely in trouble.

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