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Thanks Uldis, 

Wow. Prior art on this particular patent?  

I find this particular idea unsettling, very unsettling. 

Has all the intellectual *public domain* academic work in understanding the
display and navigation of personal social networks been locked up by one start-
up company? And not becuase they have invented anything novel, but becuase they
successfully consolidated a number of pre-existing features?  

The patent is simultaneously very specific and incredibly broad. Specific in
that it describes a specific chain of features, and particular method for
calculating networks. Taken as a whole it implies that noone can copy Friendster
exactly. But interpreted broadly, it suggests that they have the patent for
capturing social networks online. (They however do no define a personal
relationship ;)

Can anyone tell me if there is an unambiguous way to enable social network
systems to persist online without infringing on this patent? 

Take care,
BERNiE

---
Bernie Hogan
PhD Student
Department of Sociology
NetLab, Knowledge Media Design Institute
University of Toronto
---

Quoting Uldis Bojars <[log in to unmask]>:

> *****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****
> 
> Friendster has been awarded a patent covering Social Networking [in
> computer systems] on June 27, 2006.
> 
> As reported on:
> http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=17498&hed=Friendster+Wins+Patent
> 
> The patent itself is here:
> http://tinyurl.com/jtfsu
> 
> While Friendster was one of the first social networking sites I wonder
> if the processes they have patented are not obvious and have not
> existed in a social environment for ages (introducing people,
> communicating with your contacts, ...).
> 
> What would be your comments?
> 
> Best,
> Uldis
> 
> [ http://rdfs.org/sioc/ ]
> 
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