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Mark Zuckerberg, Inventor 140

Posted by kdawson
from the seventeen-year-monopoly dept.
theodp writes "Move over, Thomas Edison. Here comes Mark Zuckerberg, inventor extraordinaire. Zuck's still waiting for that elusive first patent to be issued, but take a gander at the Facebook founder's patent application for Dynamically Generating a Privacy Summary to get an idea of what's in the works. After you check boxes on a form to indicate that 'Everyone from San Francisco, CA, Social Network Provider, and Harvard' can see your profile, Zuckerberg's 'invention' will miraculously display: 'People from San Francisco, CA, Social Network Provider, and Harvard can see your profile.' How dare Rolling Stone question his inventiveness!"
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Mark Zuckerberg, Inventor

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:01AM (#23873421)

    Some deserve it. But I don't read this site for editorials, I read it for some of the scientists and engineers that will comment after the fact.

    But this kind of initial submission makes it hard to even read the front page.

  • by edwebdev (1304531) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:03AM (#23873441)
    Maybe Mark should also patent using a database to store information.
  • I thought you weren't allowed to get a patent for something that's considered basic functionality? Or is he exempted because it's a "legal document"? However, one can never underestimate the stupidity of the common American. After all, we wouldn't need a "Do not use while sleeping" warning on hair dryers unless there was litigation around it.
    Now appearing on all the new business-oriented, online, create-a-law-document websites: Privacy Statements!
    • Re:WOW (Score:4, Informative)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:13AM (#23873573) Homepage Journal

      I thought you weren't allowed to get a patent for something that's considered basic functionality?

      No, you aren't allowed to patent something that is either prior art (someone else did it first) or obvious to someone skilled in the trade.

      This would fall in the latter category. It's obvious that anyone who develops Web sites that you can do dynamic pages, so that means you can do dynamic legal agreements.

      Duh.

  • You have no idea how funny does that name sound to a bilingual latin american.

  • By the students who claimed they helped code the initial version and he ripped them off?
  • by darkmeridian (119044) <`william.chuang' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:10AM (#23873531) Homepage

    I read the Rolling Stone article and it was a hoot. All the challengers to Mark Zuckerberg come off as self-important and jealous douchebags.

    For example, Aaron Greenspan claims to have invented the concept of an online facebook and is trying to cancel Facebook's trademark. Greenspan dismissed Zuckberg by writing, "Gates was shrewd, calculating and insanely competitive, bordering on autistic. Mark was inarticulate and naive."
    Yeah, Mark was so naive he stole your idea and made himself into a billionaire.

    There were lots of social networking sites before Facebook. The idea wasn't new. Mark Zuckberg pushes a product that is faster, more reliable, and for a while was less annoying to use than its competitors. His competitors just come off as incredible losers here.

    • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:17AM (#23873627) Homepage Journal

      I don't really understand the view that because someone succeeded they must be smart. This isn't necessarily true at all. Success is often a matter of luck or timing that had nothing to do with skill.

      For example, Apple didn't succeed with their Newton handheld but Palm computing did with their Pilot. Most people agree its a case of market timing, even though the Newton was unarguably a more powerful device all-round.

      Whether Mark stole an idea or not should be argued on its own merits, whether he succeeded in the resulting application of that theft or not.

      People (with money) steal ideas all the time and then hire people to implement it for them leaving true inventors empty handed. Ask the inventor of the Yo-yo how his patent fights against big companies have been for example.

      No matter what you were told in school, market forces are NOT fair. They may determine several things, but determining who DESERVES credit or compensation is not one of them.

      • I agree with you: ruthless capitalism doesn't determine if you're right or not. Mark Zuckerberg may not be a smart dude and his rise to power may not be fair.

        However, the critics cited in the Rolling Stone article are saying that Mark Zuckerberg was not a ruthless capitalist, which is plainly ridiculous. I mean, Greenspan said the following about Zuckerberg: "The way he talked, the way he dressed, everything about him screamed immature. He seemed unprofessional. I had run a company since I was 15. It just didn't seem like he got it. That whole persona just didn't impress me." This guy, who ran a company since he was 15, did not approve of Mark Zuckerberg. Yet Zuckerberg is the 24-year old BILLIONAIRE and Greenspan isn't. For Greenspan and the others to trash Zuckerberg's business acumen is the height of stupidity.

        • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:34AM (#23873901) Journal

          For Greenspan and the others to trash Zuckerberg's business acumen is the height of stupidity.
          Really? No one ever succeeded through dumb luck? Success is a guarantee of competence? I suppose the fact that you aren't a billionaire proves you are incompetent? Zuckerberg is a schmuck who lucked out, nothing more.
          • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:28PM (#23874635) Homepage

            There are 3 facts about success.

            1 - it about WHO you know and WHO knows you. Having the right network will make you a CEO.

            2 - it's all about timing. I dont care how innovative your idea or product is, if it's not the right time for it, it will fail.

            3 - Dumb luck. Many successes confound everyone. Twitter for example, what an inane idea, yet people are taking to it like flies.

            Being a genius, inventor, or guru means NOTHING. Look at Tesla. he actually invented radio, AC power, and 90% of what we use today. Problem is other turds like Marconi used Tesla's ideas (and patents) to beat him to the patent office. Yet History still shows incorrectly as Marconi as the inventor of radio, even though congress and other bodies overturned the claims and gave it to Tesla. He died a pauper alone in his apartment. Tesla was as smart as Einstein if not smarter. He had bad timing and was did not have the right network.

            • When you say "Dumb Luck," what you appear to actually mean is "an unexpected desire for a product by an unexpectedly large number of consumers." Luck may play a part, insofar as nobody can really predict with any accuracy the thoughts and actions of millions of whims, but I haven't seen any popular products whose popularity can't actually be explained. Just because you don't care for twitter doesn't have anything to do with why other people like and use it.

              And by the way, I can't help but think that ad
              • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:46PM (#23875899) Journal

                Luck may play a part, insofar as nobody can really predict with any accuracy the thoughts and actions of millions of whims, but I haven't seen any popular products whose popularity can't actually be explained.

                Pet Rocks. Everybody Loves Raymond. Cabbage Patch Kids. Tila Tequila. George W. Bush. Perhaps in hindsight you can explain them, but that is meaningless. Does your explanation provide any predictive power, or does it just fit itself to observed facts?

                Sometimes, the only thing that makes a product popular is the fact that it is popular. It's the network effect. Most of the time, when people are free to do what they choose, they choose to imitate other people. Things become popular just because random fluctuations in popularity lead to a runaway feedback loop of imitation.

                But Lumpy was talking about luck in general terms. Sometimes people know the right people, have the timing right, even have a good idea, but they still don't get the break. On the other hand, luck can trump everything else. Think of the inventions that were found while looking for something completely different.

          • by ArhcAngel (247594)

            There's an episode of "The Simpson's" Homer's Enemy [wikipedia.org] where one of Homer's co-workers at the nuclear plant throughout the episode tries to expose Homer as incompetent. He eventually goes nuts and ends up electrocuted to death. I think that pretty much sums it up.

        • by sideshow (99249) on Friday June 20, 2008 @02:36PM (#23876679)

          Yet Zuckerberg is the 24-year old BILLIONAIRE and Greenspan isn't.

          Billionaire? Really? Is all that money on a piece of paper, or in his bank account?

          Until Facebook has (at the very least) an IPO, Zuckerberg isn't a billionaire, he just owns part of an entity that some people believe to be worth billions.

      • by bsDaemon (87307)

        Yeah, but the Newton wasn't just a handheld, it was fruit and cake!

        wait...

      • by Chemisor (97276) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:35AM (#23873917)

        > I don't really understand the view that because someone succeeded they must be smart. This isn't
        > necessarily true at all. Success is often a matter of luck or timing that had nothing to do with skill.

        It has everything to do with skill. It just not necessarily the skill you have, so it might look like magic to you instead. Could I have invented Facebook, for example? Technically, sure. There's nothing difficult about it; I would probably have even done a better job with the implementation. Why didn't I? Because I don't need it and I can't imagine why it would be useful, and so wouldn't have ever thought of it as a sellable idea. In fact, I still can't understand what all those social networking sites are for. It's not an idea that has any meaning to my generation. Yes, I tried it. I have a MySpace profile. I puttered around the site for a few days and just couldn't figure out what the big fuss was about. It took some serious amount of cultural knowledge to see that this idea would sell. I don't know why it sells, but that's why I'm not the Facebook owner. It is not about luck or timing here. It's about knowing things I do not.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by hackstraw (262471)

          I don't see the "value" in these things either. Same goes with text messaging. A coworker of mine is glued to his phone texting all the time. And he's the same age as me.

          Maybe its because I'm introverted, and prefer fewer close relationships to millions of bffs that I've never met, and probably wouldn't want to.

          I actually learn things here on slashdot that help me in my life. Its not just idle chit chat.

          However, there is clearly a need for things like twitter, myspace, facebook, and these things, but ma

          • by speedtux (1307149)

            Trust me, as an introvert, texting is god-sent: you don't actually have to talk to anybody :-)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          It's interesting that even though you more or less evenly admit that you don't understand why social networking is popular, there's still an implicit disapproval or condemnation of it. That attitude seems to be really popular here on this particular social network.

          The bottom line is that new generations bring new attitudes and ideas--I'm sure you know that, but we have to also admit that there's nothing inherently wrong with new and different attitudes. We could certainly decry a lack of enthusiasm for
        • Social networking is incredibly useful in general because it provides a level of communication with your friends that was not possible before. The technology connects people and brings them closer together more easily.

          For example, a lot of my friends are musicians and the way I find out about when they are playing shows is through MySpace bulletins or Facebook events. Facebook events are especially useful since you can make a centralized repository of information that all your friends can see, and when they

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          But it is luck and timing. Otherwise livejournal or one of the other early social networking sites would be the big one. Now skill also plays it's part. It's not like he accidently made and marketed facebook but it's also not like he's the only one who could think of it or even necessarily the one who did it best. He just happened to have the right one at the right time.

        • by speedtux (1307149)

          It has everything to do with skill. It just not necessarily the skill you have, so it might look like magic to you instead.

          Do you think the Google cook that retired as with many millions of dollars was a better cook than others? No, he was simply at the right place at the right time, and he didn't screw up too badly.

          It's the same with companies like Facebook. It's not like its founders brilliantly planned to start this precise company at the right time, it's that among the many companies that were founde

        • by SirSlud (67381)

          It's about knowing things I do not.

          As in, you don't know that there can be more than one person who knows things you do not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Comboman (895500)
        For example, Apple didn't succeed with their Newton handheld but Palm computing did with their Pilot. Most people agree its a case of market timing, even though the Newton was unarguably a more powerful device all-round.

        While I generally agree with your comment, I don't agree with the example. Palm was not just less powerful than Newton, it was also less power-hungry. The Palm was just powerful enough to do the basic applications that users at that time wanted, which gave them longer battery life, lower

      • Ask the inventor of the Yo-yo how his patent fights against big companies have been for example.

        You might have trouble asking the inventor since the yo-yo [wikipedia.org] has been around for a long, long time
      • by NilObject (522433) on Friday June 20, 2008 @01:46PM (#23875897) Homepage

        I think a lot of the success of Facebook is attributable to the fact that it was college-only at first. It was a walled garden, which was a huge draw for people who wanted the social networking features without dealing with insane 14-year-olds and 50-year-old perverts. By the time Facebook opened up to both groups, however, college students were too heavily invested in it to be bothered to switch. And there wasn't much else to switch to, really.

        I really miss the old days of Facebook, when you updated your profile all the time and joined/created all kinds of crazy groups for goofs. It was a lot of fun back then. Now my entire family has added me as a friend and all my exes reload my profile all day waiting to see if, by chance, I've become a miserable hermit. I can't post a picture without mentally making sure it's ok for my entire extended family and all future potential connections (bosses, etc.)

    • by ThinkComp (514335) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:22PM (#23874543)

      Hi there,

      I don't know who you are, but I'm Aaron. So I thought I'd clarify something.

      The Rolling Stone article got a lot wrong unfortunately. In my book [thinkpress.com], which sadly the reporter did not read too closely, I referred to Mark as naive in reference to a specific event: his not knowing A) what Viacom was, B) that MTV was part of it (despite having ambitions to create the next MTV), and C) that Viacom purchased other companies. To me, that seemed to illustrate a certain level of naivete at the time. I'm sure Mark is more familiar with Viacom now, since they offered to buy Facebook long ago.

      Also, for the record, Mark is a paper billionaire, not a billionaire yet. I have to give him some credit for that, but when the methods of achieving that kind of success amount to theft and deception on a such a grand scale, it's hard to give too much credit.

      You're free to think whatever you want about me, of course, but I did want to make sure that people have their facts straight.

      Aaron

    • I loved this line: "as easy to use and as addictive as any drug."

      I'm gonna have to disagree. Heroin takes way more work to use (and is far more expensive) and is thousands of times more addictive :p

      --Ted
    • faster, more reliable and for a while was less annoying to use than its competitors

      Really? I'm not really big into social networking (although I am a member of facebook). I've not used a whole lot of other social networking sites, but I can't imagine any of them are any more or less reliable than facebook.

      I think the primary difference between facebook and everyone else is scale. Facebook is successful because it's already successful. The only reason I'm a member is because everyone else I know is already a member. If everyone in my social group picked Orkut or something else to share th

    • by jstockdale (258118) on Friday June 20, 2008 @07:36PM (#23880713) Homepage Journal

      Ok. So How about this for a non-self-important, non-jealous, non-douchey response:

      Disclaimer: I happen to know many of Mark's friends, as well as having gone to school @ Stanford when Facebook made it's break-through in the beta stages. I've been a member for ages, and seen pretty much everything. I almost tried to work there, but when I interviewed I knew it wasn't the place for me.

      Now to go on. Zuck, and Facebook by extension, really do think they know better than their users and everyone else. Their opt-out marketing ploys and from-the-first-day terrible privacy and retention policy's (go to the picture bucket for something you deleted. see it still? yeah, me too.) show their true colors as a data aggregation service.

      They managed to create a token service that in exchange for hundreds of dollars of personal information (ie. your contact info is generally accepted as being worth $5. For browsing habits, preferences, etc. go up an order of magnitude), they give you shiny trinkets and a simplified website.

      Zuck and many of his friends are more concerned with how they're going to cash out than any social good that they could bring from the service. Time and time again they demonstrate how little they are concerned by the preferences of their users, and believe that huge privacy and datamining fau paux's can be made up for by a well-worded apology (no doubt, written by their writing staff).

      Do me a favor, and don't defend him. He doesn't deserve his success, and although he's been lucky, I expect the luck to run out before they sell out for their desired Billions.

      In fact, how about this:

      I'll put a $5k bounty on a very well written, adaptable Facebook scraper that can transfer all personal information and friends from their platform, to OpenSocial or a platform of my choosing.

      Watch Facebook's bottom line once a altruistic company comes along with the same service.

  • Bravo. Really, bravo. That was just terrific.

  • Sounds like an ACL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zappa86 (1288842)
    This sounds exactly like an ACL which have been around for awhile. I have many different data elements, I want to only certain people or certain groups, or combinations there of to be able to access it. Hmm, what else could that be? Oh, I know. MySQL can do that do with its permissions table, file systems can do that with ACLs, Apache can do that, hell, if the "data elements" were sockets or ports, even IPTables could do that. PRIOR ART! anyone know what the copyright date of getfacl was?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by zappa86 (1288842)
      My man page for getfacl says may 2000, which means that its been out long before that. Sorry mark, at least 8 years too late, but more like 38 (hell thats older than you)!
    • It sounds exactly like a report on an ACL. Set up the permissions as you wish, then see them in an easily comprehended summary.

  • by MosesJones (55544) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:17AM (#23873621) Homepage

    While I know its heresy to say it... Edison did just plain steal a lot of ideas and then pass them off as his own inventions. In fact the lack of global patent protection was a major reason for Edison becoming the person he did, in reality he lived off the inventions of others.

    Edison was a patent troll ;)

    • by 3m_w018 (1002627)
      Supporting article [valleywag.com]
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:20AM (#23873659) Homepage

    Facebook is a really good business idea. Technically it's uninteresting, but socially it's brilliant.

    It also has more revenue per employee than almost anything else. Facebook, the company, is tiny. For their growth period to a billion-dollar company, they were in a little 3-story building on Litton in Palo Alto, between a yoga studio and a beauty salon. (There something about those few downtown blocks of Palo Alto. PayPal, Facebook, Alta Vista, and a host of other well-known names all started within a three block area. PayPal started above the bike shop. )

    Facebook seems to hire based on Facebook. The women coming out of the building are good looking and the guys are hunks.

    • by eln (21727) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:33AM (#23873879) Homepage

      Facebook seems to hire based on Facebook. The women coming out of the building are good looking and the guys are hunks.
      I think you're confused. The people you're seeing coming out of the building are coming from the yoga studio and the beauty salon. The Facebook employees come and go through the back door under the cover of darkness, like all geeks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by wild_quinine (998562)

      PayPal started above the bike shop.
      ...and extorted 3.4% every time they sold a bike. Pretty soon, everyone on the street was paying their dues. You know why? Respect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sanity (1431)

      It also has more revenue per employee than almost anything else. Facebook, the company, is tiny. For their growth period to a billion-dollar company

      You realize that the "billion-dollar" number is a valuation, it doesn't have anything to-do with their revenue. Do you have anything to substantiate your "more revenue per employee" claim? I heard that they were losing money, although they were within an order of magnitude of breaking even (better than you can say for many tech startups). Of course, they've

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Animats (122034)

        You realize that the "billion-dollar" number is a valuation, it doesn't have anything to-do with their revenue.

        Excellent point. They really don't have much of a revenue model, which is very Dot Com 1.0.

        • Wow, I remember a post from you on the article about MySpace being acquired for 1 Billion. You said Murdoch was insane, MySpace didn't have a business mode, and we were back in the Dot Com 1.0 times. A few months later MySpace signed a 1 Billion dollar Ad deal with Google.

          • by Animats (122034)

            A few months later MySpace signed a 1 Billion dollar Ad deal with Google.

            Actually, no. Google signed a $900 million deal with Fox Media [gigaom.com], which has a number of major web sites. IGN, not Myspace, is generating most of the profitable ad displays. What Google is getting from Myspace is incoming search traffic.

            Ads on Myspace have very low value. Most of the advertisers are bottom-feeders (we collect statistics on this). Cost per click is very low.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Mabye I should apply?
    • by Mia'cova (691309)

      I disagree with your statement that it's technically uninteresting. I think it's a fine example of what a web application should strive for from a technical perspective. They've done many interesting things. Like how they handle authentication between the main site and the image caching Akamai provides. They were the first to do that. Akamai had to write a lot of custom code to support them. Each little part is simple in function but when you consider the scale and distributed nature of what they do, I thin

    • The women coming out of the building are good looking and the guys are hunks.
      Wait, what? What does that have to do with Facebook?
  • PATENT TROLL! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:20AM (#23873661)
    I looked at the application and this is about as "obvious" as it gets. It does not even come close to meeting the standards for a patent.

    What do you want to bet that the clueless idiots at the PTO actually give this serious consideration?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can we please not use interchangeably the words "inventor" and "patenter"? The two terms are orthogonal, and these days they even seem to be negatively correlated.

  • Zuckerberg is a "Nietzschean superdork"! Sounds sweet, where do I sign up to become one of those? Oh wait, I have to make a site where I game people's personal info to advertisers and profit from their disclosures? On second thought, I'll pass.

  • ConnectU (Score:5, Funny)

    by thebonafortuna (1050016) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:24AM (#23873755)
    If this guy is the Thomas Edison of the 21st century, its no wonder we don't have flying cars.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, "Inventor"

    • by studpuppy (624228)
      umm.. I believe that would be "Mark Zuckerberg, Super-Genius".

      Oh wait... that was the Coyote....My bad.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:29AM (#23873827) Homepage

    Seriously, hate the game, i.e. the patent system. It makes a lot of sense for companies to patent everything they possibly can, if only for defensive purposes. If the patent is accepted, cool, you have another patent to sit on. If it's not accepted, oh well, you lost some time and money. There's no real reason not to try to patent any little thought that passes through your mind, no matter how stupid or banal.

    There are probably other reasons to hate this guy. Being even somewhat responsible for Facebook is probably enough. But filing for frivolous patents is just the way you do business these days, so nothing to get excited about there. It's just an indication that (in case you haven't figured it out) the patent system is in serious need of reform.

    • Agreed. It's simply the cost of defending yourself in a marketplace that is completely corrupt. In a free society, patents would not exist and neither would the government. So if youre, going to point your finger, at least point it at the people who are to blame.

    • by dk90406 (797452)
      Don't they have the option to just publish, and thus establish prior art, instead of seeking a patenet?
      But granted, a patent is a better protection in case someone sues - a patent gives them a possible opporunity to countersue.
      • But granted, a patent is a better protection in case someone sues - a patent gives them a possible opporunity to countersue.

        Yes, that's the whole point. Defensive patents aren't necessarily about protecting yourself from being sued for using the technology you're patenting (though it may be that it's easier to legally establish that you've patented it than it is to establish prior art). It's so when someone comes after you and claims you're infringing on their obscure/stupid little patent, you can say, "Oh yeah? Well you're infringing on 75 of my stupid little patents. Do you want to fight this out, or do you want to leave

    • by Vornzog (409419)

      But filing for frivolous patents is just the way you do business these days... It's just an indication that... the patent system is in serious need of reform.

      The pathology runs deeper than you are implying. Mike Dillon , general counsel for Sun, goes so far as to compare patent portfolios to a cold war style nuclear arms race [sun.com]. Far from being 'frivolous', most companies today think that if they don't try to patent every little thing, they'll be sued into oblivion by the companies that do. It is this defensive mentality, not the patent trolls, that has lead to the current state of the patent system.

      As someone whose first patent was published just this week, i

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Plutonite (999141)

      I disagree. First of all:

      There's no real reason not to try to patent any little thought that passes through your mind, no matter how stupid or banal.

      One such reason is to *not* appear stupid or banal, particularly when you're in a field where your endeavors are almost common knowledge to people even without professional training. People who comprise part of your user base, and who will not take stupidity and banality very well. I (and many reasonable citizens of the internet/world) make it a habit to avoid companies whose business models rest on the stupid and the banal.*

      There are probably other reasons to hate this guy. Being even somewhat responsible for Facebook is probably enough.

      ???
      Facebook was a beautiful thing, and possibly still is

  • Zuck's still waiting for that elusive first patent to be issued, but take a gander at the Facebook founder's patent application for [ software idea ]
    NEXT!!!
  • Prior Art (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday June 20, 2008 @11:40AM (#23873989)

    This was filed on July 25, 2006. So we need an example of a similar thing from July 25, 2005 or earlier to qualify for prior art. And this is so ridiculously simple that there's got to be some prior art somewhere. I don't think this would qualify since it is on an intranet, but my company's intranet has an internal policy editor that lets users set which affiliates get to see the policy. So if you want Policy X to be seen by A, B, and C, but not D, you check off those checkboxes and click OK. The database stores the permissions and the users searching for policies get the appropriate policies on their screens. I don't remember when we launched that, but I'm sure that it was before 2005. This should be a ridiculously easy patent to find prior art for.

    • Use the wayback machine for Hi5 or MySpace.
    • It looks like the patent is basically converting privacy settings stored somewhere (probably in a database) to text. Wouldn't this be the same as any other reporting tool? Crystal Reports is probably the most well-known, and it's been around for many years.
  • The age old Windows repair solution. Format the Patent and Trademark system and start over. Maybe switch to Linux while they're at it. Any PTO officer who can handle using that may actually have the elusive quality of common sense.
  • It's hard for me to read posts like this. The real story is at:

    http://www.thinkpress.com/authoritas/index.html

  • Both are Harvard dropouts, one havent gotten fabulously rich on software and the other about to. Both wrote good software in their days. Both are accused of stealing their best ideas from other people. Both seem to have a touch Aspergers. And one is trying to buy the other out. So is Mark going to be eventually as good as Bill in the computer business?
  • I clicked on the print link in TFA so I didn't have to wade through 8 pages of adverts - and the 'printable' page had flash adverts on it... Now I know printers are getting good, but...

  • surely deserved more than a copyright ;)
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:18PM (#23874511) Homepage
    in the form of the dialog in Windows that allows you to select which users and groups have access to files and folders.
  • by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Friday June 20, 2008 @12:42PM (#23874859)
    With something this obvious being patented, I think I'm going to patent my method of inspiring air in order to convert suspended iron into iron oxide in a liquid medium in order to live. I'll make a mint!
  • Posted TODAY...Today...today

    CLAIRE HOFFMAN Posted Jun 26, 2008 2:25 PM
  • If they are not rejected immediately, they may be challenged later. Myself and others developed one or more of the concepts Mr. Z has tried to patent - way before he filed his application(s). In particular those relating to privacy and tagging.
  • All these social networking sites got their start in much the same way. Facebook had the pick-a-professor thing which at least at my school got sent around as unsolicited spam to get people to sign up. Once a critical mass of users was achieved, people started signing up of their own volition more rapidly.

    Myspace was the same way. They grew based on these "models" and whatnot who would spam people to try to get as many "friends" as possible, and signing up was required to see their pics. Once enough peo

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