Monday, September 18, 2006

Friendster wins social networking patent

Here's another example to show you that the world's patent system is deeply broken. Friendster has recently won a patent on, guess what, social networking. Now, they can finally take on MySpace and other social networking rivals. Expect to see lots and lots of lawsuits. From Red Herring:
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.”

“It’s way too early to say” whether the company would pursue licenses and litigation from its competitors, Friendster President Kent Lindstrom told “We’ll do what we can to protect our intellectual property.”

...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.

Mr. Lindstrom said that Kleiner Perkins had encouraged Friendster to file patents when it funded the company in 2003. Another eleven patents are in the pipeline.

The approved patent came as a surprise. “Frankly we’d almost forgotten about it,” Mr. Lindstrom said.

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