Facebook was just granted a patent for something that should prove to be controversial. Patent #7,669,123, which was filed for in 2006, is for “A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment…” The abstract reads:
A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment is described. The method includes generating news items regarding activities associated with a user of a social network environment and attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the activities, to at least one of the news items, as well as limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items. The method further may further include displaying the news items in the assigned order to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewers and dynamically limiting the number of news items displayed.
It sounds to me like they just patented a fairly obvious mechanism that has been long used by sites like Twitter, Digg, Reddit, RSS readers, blogs, etc..
Am I the only one who isn’t okay with this sort of patent-trolling behavior? Why does the USPTO keep letting these kinds of application through? It’s bad enough that Amazon is still fighting to have their one-click buying patent approved, and now we have another stupid patent that is just too obvious. Facebook is by no means the first website to have a “news feed,” and the idea is hardly patent-worthy.