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Friday, November 21, 2008

Facebook Sued For Patent Infringement

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
from the welcome-to-the-big-time dept
It's pretty much a rite of passage for any tech company these days, as you get larger and more recognized, some company that has an overly broad and probably obvious patent will sue you for patent infringement. For the company in question, the lawsuit is as much a publicity event as it is an attempt to squeeze revenue from an actual innovator. The latest example of this is with an Ohio company no one's heard of called Leader Technologies, who is suing Facebook for patent infringement, and was kind enough to send out a press release announcing this before Facebook even got to see the lawsuit. Clearly, this is a publicity stunt.
As for the patent itself, it basically describes the rather obvious process of associating a piece of data with multiple categories. It's almost surprising that the company is suing Facebook instead of Google. While I'm not a heavy Facebook user, I'm not sure where Facebook uses such a system. Google, however, has made widespread use of a similar idea with its Gmail "labels." The idea is that rather than sorting data into a specific folder or category, it can be associated with multiple categories. If that seems rather obvious and ridiculously broad, well, that's the patent system for you these days.

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