***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/ ***** To follow up on Stan Wasserman's post about the NYTimes article, I've pulled up the patent title and abstract referenced by the article. My original fear was that someone managed to patent published social network analysis algorithms or indices. Although this isn't the case, I still find it somewhat troubling - from the core claims as I understand them, the patent is for (a) a database of emails/communication, and (b) a method of making connections among database entities with a geodesic distance of 2+. Patents generally are not issued in cases where the technology is not replicable, are easily reverse engineered, based on technology known to the public, or are obvious /general knowledge. Would it be worthwhile for INSNA to send a letter to the US Patent Office offering expertise in what is "not obvious" regarding network science? "Obviousness" is apparently one of the trickiest issues that patent examiners face. Here's a good web primer for the subject of patent requirements: http://www.bitlaw.com/patent/requirements.html Regards Guy Title: Method and apparatus for constructing a networking database and system Abstract: A networking database containing a plurality of records for different individuals in which individuals are connected to one another in the database by defined relationships. Each individual has the opportunity to define the relationship which may be confirmed or denied. E-mail messaging and interactive communication between individuals and a database service provider provide a method of constructing the database. The method includes having a registered individual identify further individuals and define therewith a relationship. The further individuals then, in turn, establish their own defined relationships with still other individuals. The defined relationships are mutually defined. Link to online patent: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/net ahtml/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=ptxt&s1=6175831.WKU.&OS=PN/617 5831&RS=PN/6175831 _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.