I was poking around the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and came across a blog post talking about two Jonathan Zittrain Patents and some very weak Social Networking patents posted by Stuart Soffer:
It is with anticipation that I receive the Ocean Tomo auction catalogs, looking for surprises. There are three lots of patents directed towards Social Networking. CIS speaker and Harvard law prof Jonathan Zittrain ( a great speaker) is the first named inventor of two patents (6,998,984 and 7,324,000) at the March auction. The patents are entitled, “State adaptation devices and methods for wireless communications”, but the catalog summarizes them as a “Non-verbal Wireless Communication System.” One of the claims of the ‘000 patent provides for
“A communications system comprising: a first bracelet for a user to wear that can sense a contraction when squeezed around the user, and including a transmitter for wirelessly transmitting a signal indicating that the bracelet has been squeezed; the first bracelet further including a receiver for receiving a signal and for contracting around the user in response to the received signal.”
Lot 41 (US 7,483,946 and 6,963,900) should interest LinkedIn, FaceBook, MySpace and similar social networking sites for patents covering facilitating meetings or events between two or more people. There are recent nascent efforts of potential licensing targets banding together to acquire select patents, thereby inoculating themselves from potential litigation. This would be an opportunity for LinkedIn et al. to acquire the patents and form a pool.
License Note: Work quoted from the Stanford Center for Fair Use is under a Creative Commmons BY License
Of these patents the social networking ones are insane here is 6,963,900
Methods and systems for assisting individuals (101) arrange meetings such as networking meeting with other individuals (101) at a specified time (or within a specified time range) and/or at a specified place (or within a specified geographic region). More specifically, methods and systems for allowing individuals (110) to post an invitation to for a meeting on an on-line network and for allowing one or more other individuals (101) to accept such invitation.
Is this patent even valid under Bilski? The patent is a process patent that is only loosely connected to any specific technology. Is this patent novel? I can not disagree with Soffer more, social networking sites should not invest in software patents they should fight them. Even if the patent is valid it is clearly bad for competition and innovation. This patent should be reexamined, stay away!
I am waiting to comment on the JZ patents I need to read them more carefully.