Earlier this week, I noted that Facebook currently owns 43 patents (and about 80 patent applications). In fact, there are only 42 currently issued patents, with one patent being listed twice. Today, I am taking a look at those 42 patents to see where they came from. Of the 42 patents, 10 were based on Facebook’s own inventions and 32 were acquired from various companies. Facebook has clearly changed its strategy and increased its patent acquisition rate within the past few years. Of the 32 patents that were acquired, 11 were acquired this year, 20 were acquired in 2010 and 1 was acquired in 2009.
Facebook’s patents are broken down as follows:
Facebook’s Own Inventions
Ten U.S. patents have been issued to date based on Facebook’s own inventions. Mark Zuckerberg is listed as an inventor on four of these patents.
|7827208||GENERATING A FEED OF STORIES PERSONALIZED FOR MEMBERS OF A SOCIAL NETWORK||Andrew Bosworth et al|
|7933810||COLLECTIVELY GIVING GIFTS IN A SOCIAL NETWORK ENVIRONMENT||Jared Morgenstern|
|7970657||GIVING GIFTS AND DISPLAYING ASSETS IN A SOCIAL NETWORK ENVIRONMENT||Jared Morgenstern|
|7809805||SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR AUTOMATICALLY LOCATING WEB-BASED SOCIAL NETWORK MEMBERS||Jed Stremel et al|
|7669123||DYNAMICALLY PROVIDING A NEWS FEED ABOUT A USER OF A SOCIAL NETWORK||Mark Zuckerberg et al.|
|7725492||MANAGING INFORMATION ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS IN A SOCIAL NETWORK VIA A SOCIAL TIMELINE||Mark Zuckerberg et al.|
|7797256||GENERATING SEGMENTED COMMUNITY FLYERS IN A SOCIAL NETWORKING SYSTEM||Mark Zuckerberg et al.|
|7827265||SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CONFIRMING AN ASSOCIATION IN A WEB-BASED SOCIAL NETWORK||Charlie Cheever et al|
|7945653||TAGGING DIGITAL MEDIA||Mark Zuckerberg et al.|
|8027943||SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR OBSERVING RESPONSES TO INVITATIONS BY USERS IN A WEB-BASED SOCIAL NETWORK||Yun-Fang Juan et al.|
Patents Acquired from others
Of the remaining 32 patents, eleven were acquired from Friendster around June 2010. As I mentioned previously, it is believed that Facebook paid 40 million dollars for these patents.
Nine patents were acquired from Hewlett Packard around February 2010. As noted by the Gametime IP blog, many of these patents have nothing to do with Facebook’s business, but Facebook enforced some of them against Phoenix Media Group. The suit against Phoenix was likely a defensive move in response to Phoenix suing Facebook for patent infringement over two of its patents.
Seven patents were acquired from Walker Digital around August 2011. As you may remember, Walker Digital filed suit against Facebook (among others) in April 2011. In July of this year, Gametime IP noted that three companies settled with Walker Digital, with two of those companies being Apple and Groupon and the third being unknown. It was later determined that the third company was indeed Facebook. Unfortunately, since such deals are typically confidential, we do not known what the settlement was and therefore what these patents cost Facebook.
Three patents were acquired from British Telecommunication around April 2011. One patent was acquired from Applied Materials, Inc around May 2009. One patent was acquired from Divan Industries around August 2011. Unfortunately, no information is available about these deals.
|Patent No.||Title||Assignor||Assignment Date|
|6421651||METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PRIORITY-BASED JUKEBOX QUEUING||Walker Digital||8/5/2011|
|6430537||METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PRIORITY-BASED JUKEBOX QUEUING||Walker Digital||8/5/2011|
|7188080||SYSTEMS AND METHODS WHEREIN A BUYER PURCHASES PRODUCTS IN A PLURALITY OF PRODUCT CATEGORIES||Walker Digital||8/5/2011|
|7340419||METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PRODUCT DISPLAY||Walker Digital||8/5/2011|
|7526440||METHOD, COMPUTER PRODUCT, AND APPARATUS FOR FACILITATING THE PROVISION OF OPINIONS TO A SHOPPER FROM A PANEL OF PEERS||Walker Digital||8/5/2011|
|7835950||METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PRODUCT DISPLAY||Walker Digital||8/5/2011|
|7912758||METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PRODUCT DISPLAY||Walker Digital||8/5/2011|
|6199157||SYSTEM, METHOD AND MEDIUM FOR MANAGING INFORMATION||Applied Materials, Inc||5/7/2009|
|6393468||DATA ACCESS CONTROL||British Telecommunication Company||4/22/2011|
|7233997||METHOD OF AUTHENTICATING A USER OF A CLIENT TERMINAL||British Telecommunication Company||4/22/2011|
|7373338||ACCESS CONTROL TO SHARED RESOURCES||British Telecommunication Company||4/22/2011|
|7231428||COMMUNICATION SYSTEM USING ALIAS MANAGEMENT RULES FOR AUTOMATICALLY CHANGING SENDER ALIAS IN A MESSAGE BASED ON GROUP THAT INCLUDES RECIPIENT ADDRESS||DIVAN INDUSTRIES, LLC||8/10/2011|
|7069308||SYSTEM, METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR CONNECTING USERS IN AN ONLINE COMPUTER SYSTEM BASED ON THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN SOCIAL NETWORKS||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7117254||METHOD OF INDUCING CONTENT UPLOADS IN A SOCIAL NETWORK||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7188153||SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANAGING CONNECTIONS IN AN ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORK||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7451161||COMPATIBILITY SCORING OF USERS IN A SOCIAL NETWORK||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7478078||METHOD FOR SHARING RELATIONSHIP INFORMATION STORED IN A SOCIAL NETWORK DATABASE WITH THIRD PARTY DATABASES||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7606687||PROXIMITY SEARCH METHODS USING TILES TO REPRESENT GEOGRAPHICAL ZONES||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7680882||MULTIMEDIA AGGREGATION IN AN ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORK||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7788260||RANKING SEARCH RESULTS BASED ON THE FREQUENCY OF CLICKS ON THE SEARCH RESULTS BY MEMBERS OF A SOCIAL NETWORK WHO ARE WITHIN A PREDETERMINED DEGREE OF SEPARATION||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|7890501||VISUAL TAGS FOR SEARCH RESULTS GENERATED FROM SOCIAL NETWORK INFORMATION||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|8010458||SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANAGING INFORMATION FLOW BETWEEN MEMBERS OF AN ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORK||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|8037093||FEEDING UPDATES TO LANDING PAGES OF USERS OF AN ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORK FROM EXTERNAL SOURCES||Friendster||6/7/2010|
|6065051||APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR COMMUNICATION BETWEEN MULTIPLE BROWSERS||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|6253325||APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR SECURING DOCUMENTS POSTED FROM A WEB RESOURCE||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|6314458||APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR COMMUNICATION BETWEEN MULTIPLE BROWSERS||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|6633311||E-SERVICE TO MANAGE AND EXPORT CONTACT INFORMATION||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|6691158||E-SERVICE TO MANAGE CONTACT INFORMATION AND TRACK CONTACT LOCATION||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|6889213||E-SERVICE TO MANAGE CONTACT INFORMATION WITH PRIVACY LEVELS||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|6952730||SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR EFFICIENT FILTERING OF DATA SET ADDRESSES IN A WEB CRAWLER||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|7017109||E-SERVICE TO MANAGE CONTACT INFORMATION AND SIGNATURE ECARDS||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
|7024451||SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MAINTAINING CONSISTENT INDEPENDENT SERVER-SIDE STATE AMONG COLLABORATING SERVERS||Hewlett-Packard||2/15/2010|
I don’t understand. If I want to build a social network that has methods exactly like facebook do I need to get a license from them or just change it a little and get my own patent.
This post may begin to answer some of your questions: http://startupsip.com/2012/01/31/help-theres-a-patent-on-my-idea-what-now/