You might remember that about 18 months ago -- in February of 2010 -- there was a flurry of news around Facebook patenting the concept of a news feed.
It created a mini bruhaha because of prior act involving Friendster, LinkedIn and Tribe.net in 2003, regarding the Friendster-owned "Six Degrees" patent, which places restrictions on constructing social networks. Plaxo, the company co-founded by former President of Facebook Sean Parker, now owns that patent.
With Twitter launching an activity feed we wonder if this is an issue or not. LAUNCH has contacted both Facebook and Twitter and will update this story if we receive a response.
Facebook's News Feed patent abstract states, "Updates to landing pages of users in an online social network are fed from external sources so that content maintained by any one user can be consolidated in a single location regardless of where the changes are made to the content. When an update event occurs, users of the online social network are notified according to various criteria that they have set. With this feature, users can browse through content of other users efficiently."
Of course, patents are a very complicated discussion in software and with user interface issues, as we've seen with the absolute chaos in the mobile space. Might another patent war break out in the social space?
In August 2010, Facebook acquired 18 of Friendster's social networking patents for $40M. The patents involve multimedia aggregation in a social network, sharing methods, uploading content and more. Facebook first launched the News Feed in 2006, when it was still deemed the number two social network behind MySpace.