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Facebook Patents Politics

Candidates Sued By Patent Troll For Using Facebook 138

WrongSizeGlass writes "Ars is reporting that the 'inventor' of the concept of 'providing individual online presences for each of a plurality of members of a group of members,' claims that four million Facebook business account holders, including at least three major presidential candidates, are guilty of infringing his patent. He's suing Facebook for infringing on his patent as well as the three candidates. A Patent Office examiner rejected the patent claims, but the rejections have been appealed."
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Candidates Sued By Patent Troll For Using Facebook

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  • by PatPending ( 953482 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:22AM (#39193749)

    Here is the plaintiff's website [].

    Golly, I haven't seen a website using frameset/frame since 2000.

    This page uses frames, but your browser doesn't support them.

    Joking aside, there's this noteworthy paragraph from their February 21, 2012 [] news release:

    According to EveryMD's attorney Frank Weyer, the timing of Facebook's IPO Prospectus could not have been better. "Earlier in the litigation, we had offered our patent to Facebook for a minimal fee, representing a one-time fee of less than $.02 per Facebook member at the time--an almost negligible amount given the vast sums of money that Facebook intends to make off its users," says Weyer. "Instead, Facebook rejected that offer and tried to overwhelm us with their team of high-priced attorneys. We are now pleased that Facebook did not take us up on our earlier offer. Thanks to Facebook's IPO prospectus, we realize our earlier offer was greatly undervalued. It will now take a substantially higher sum to resolve this ongoing patent dispute."

  • Re:Hurray! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @12:35AM (#39193837)

    Actually, this fellow seems interesting. Having read into a few articles, I saw this interesting snippet:

    Prior to law school, Weyer was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho and now works as a volunteer engineer in Antarctic expeditions.

    and this:

    In an earlier case Weyer sued Network Solutions and for violating his patent on the selection of an e-mail address based on a domain name. He has also sued Harley Davidson, Bosch, and MySpace. Those cases have all settled.

    It seems more like this guy is fraking the system over to allow him the freedom to go out and make a difference. You know, if I had a way to pick the pockets of fat cats while giving me the time to spend volunteering in third world countries or doing explorative expeditions - I just might.

  • Re:Hurray! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @01:50AM (#39194269)

    I for one hope this rejection is overturned. This patent is no less valid than countless other business method patents or software patents, such as the one-click patent, and prior art is irrelevant, as again, countless other patents have prior art yet are approved by the USPTO. This patent needs to be approved so this guy can get busy suing the Presidential candidates and lots of other politicians, and maybe then we'll finally have some real reform of the patent system.

  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @03:46AM (#39194773) Homepage

    How about "small company temporarily patents the obvious and loses a lot of money to lawyers" instead then? That's where this is going; the fact that they do have a product just means they can be counter-sued to death, a problem true patent trolls are immune to.

    Can't be sympathetic for the small company when it's yet another variation on the " but on the web now!" patent nonsense. The idea that this was novel is 2007 makes the one-click ordering patent look like genius innovation; at least that hadn't been going on for a decade, all over the world, by the time of filing. I had a database-backed web site communicating among groups of people (the various divisions of my employer being one set) with an e-mail to FAX gateway in 1995. It was new then, but even at that point I considered it an obvious step, once the infrastructure was available.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.