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Dear Friends,

Peer-to-Patent ( is an online community that opens
the patent examination process to the public.  In collaboration with the
USPTO, the site allows inventors to consent to public review of their
patent applications.  Applications are published on the site for a
period of time and reviewers can discuss the claims, submit prior art
references, and more. 

One application, "Recommending contacts in a social network" is about to
expire.  This means that the public review process will be closed and
the materials on the site will be forwarded to the USPTO for
consideration during the examination process.  This patent application
was submitted to Peer-to-Patent by Microsoft for community review.  A
summary is below.  This application is highly relevant to various web
technologies and does not require a high level of technical skill for
participation or understanding of the claims. 

If you have any information to add, prior art that has not been
submitted, or further comment, please visit  We strongly
encourage you to forward this to your peers.

Application Summary:

A social network consists of individuals and their relationships to
other individuals. Two individuals in a social network may have a direct
relationship and may also have indirect relationships. For example, if
Tom and Mary both have a direct relationship with Jim they have an
indirect relationship to each other. The number of relationships between
two individuals is commonly referred to as their “degree of
separation”. For example, Tom and Mary have two degrees of separation.
Because social networks can have thousands of individuals social
networks can be very complex. Luckily, much of a person’s direct
relationships can be derived from data stored by computer system such as
contact lists for e-mail programs, instant messaging programs, event
organizing programs, or so on.

This application relates to a method and system for recommending
potential contacts who are related to the user through no more than a
maximum degree of separation. The system identifies the user’s
contacts and then identifies contacts of those contacts until the
maximum degree of separation is reached. The system then may rank the
contacts based on contact paths and may also filter out identified users
who do not satisfy a recommendation criterion. The user can then decide
whether to add the presented users as one of their contacts.

Summaries of additional applications available for review, and links to
the applications, can be found here:

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The Peer-to-Patent Team

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