Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

The IP Wars

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

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Help Defend Facebook from Non-Patent Troll

A Baltimore startup with less than 5 employees, WhoGlue, is suing Facebook for patent infringement, based on a patent it previously--unsuccessfully--tried to unload at a patent auction. The patent, no. 7,246,164, is for a "Distributed personal relationship information management system and method". In essence, they claim that Facebook infringes their patent by permitting members to send one another "friend requests" and sharing information online, tracking each others activities, and so on. I.e., they are claiming a state-granted monopoly on a crucial aspect of social networking.

WhoGlue wants to make it clear they are not a patent troll, heaven forfend. No,

"The patent is a key part of WhoGlue's business, and the lawsuit is meant to protect his company's livelihood, Hardebeck said. ... "We didn't patent something that we thought would be an opportunity to license" to other companies, he said. "We patented it because it was core to our business."
So... they are not some nasty patent troll who is just suing Facebook for some invention they never practiced or sold. They just want to protect something that's "core to their business." Something so core they tried to auction it off (but failed). But do they claim that Facebook copied this "invention" from them? I doubt it--it's unlikely Facebook did copy it, and copying need not be shown to prove patent infringement anyway. And what does this non-troll want? "Unspecified monetary damages"--probably hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, if the Blackberry patent suit is any guide--plus a permanent injunction issued by the state preventing Facebook from using this "invention". I bet Facebook is so glad WhoGlue is not some annoying troll.


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