Facebook gets patent for location-based social networks
Facebook recently received a patent for location-based social networks, widely known as "check-ins." This could be bad for similar services such as the popular Foursquare and lesser-known Gowalla.
Facebook Places was launched in August, but the patent was filed on February 28, 2007. The patent covers:
A method of sharing locations of users participating in a social networking service at a geographic location, the method executed by a computer system and comprising: receiving location information and status information from a mobile device of a first user of the social networking service, the location information representing a geographic location of the first user, the status information manually provided by the first user on an input module of the mobile device; associating the location information with the status information of the first user in a database; and sending the status information and the location information of the first user to a second user for display.
Motorola sues Apple big time
Motorola recently announced that its subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission. Motorola alleges that Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iTouch and certain Mac computers infringe Motorola patents. From a press release:
Overall, Motorola Mobility’s three complaints include 18 patents, which relate to early-stage innovations developed by Motorola in key technology areas found on many of Apple’s core products and associated services, including MobileMe and the App Store. The Motorola patents include wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design, and key smartphone technologies including wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization.
Motorola Mobility has requested an investigation commence into Apple’s use of Motorola’s patents and "issue an Exclusion Order barring Apple’s importation of infringing products, prohibiting further sales of infringing products that have already been imported, and halting the marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products in the United States."
“Motorola has innovated and patented throughout every cycle of the telecommunications industry evolution, from Motorola’s invention of the cell phone to its development of premier smartphone products," said Kirk Dailey, corporate vice president of intellectual property at Motorola Mobility. "We have extensively licensed our industry-leading intellectual property portfolio, consisting of tens of thousands of patents in the U.S. and worldwide. After Apple’s late entry into the telecommunications market, we engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple has refused to take a license. We had no choice but to file these complaints to halt Apple’s continued infringement. Motorola will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its R&D and intellectual property, which are critical to the company’s business.”