A software company called WhoGlue is suing Facebook for patent violation, IDG reports.
In the lawsuit, available here, the company says it owns the patent to an “information management system, method and computer program code and means for facilitating communications between user members of an online network.”
We’re not lawyers, but it sounds like a lot of Internet companies could be accused of violating such a patent.
IDG via NYTimes: WhoGlue’s filings are vague on exactly how Facebook might violate the patent, but it appears to have an issue with the privacy controls Facebook has instituted over the past two years to give its users greater control over who sees what on the social-networking site.
“Recently, the big social networking sites have begun to realise that it’s not just about making it easy to share information … it’s also about making it easy to control access to that information,” company CEO Jason Hardebeck wrote in a July 11 blog posting. “We figured that out a long time ago; as a matter of fact, we filed for a patent called ‘Distributed personal relationship information management system and methods’ (remember, this was before ‘social networking’ came into vogue) way back in 2001.”
WhoGlue makes network management solutions for alumni associations, professional societies, trade associations, political parties, and non-profits. “When WhoGlue started, the term “social networking” didn’t exist,” the company says on its website.
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