Erik Sherman of Bnet.com yesterday picked up on a patent that was awarded to Facebook that could affect the way Foursquare and other geo-location social apps do business.
To summarize the patent, it involves sharing updates from a mobile device and allocating your geographical position along with it to a social network. Now that is what Foursquare is about and it is also what Facebook Places is about.
Who owns my ideas?
Looking at this, I am getting the feeling that we might see another big court case in the future.
If I was the guy who conceived the Foursquare idea, I would be furious right now. Imagine sitting at home and thinking about a faster way to grill meat. You start marketing that method and then another company starts marketing a similar method.
Now let's assume in this scenario that you first came up with the idea but the other company first applies for the patent, surely you should have the right to challenge the patent. Yes you do have the right... but it will cost you. Legal fees will most probably be sky high.
Lately we see a lot of news about companies taking on one another for creating technology that infringes on patents owned by someone. I am getting the feeling that there is always a patent out there that conflicts with what you are thinking.
Your big idea might already belong to someone else because they were very broad in their description when applying for the patent.
Patent aren't Open Source focused
Patent in my mind exist for one reason and one reason only - to make money.
You can sell the patent to your idea to the highest bidder or you could use it to protect your idea in the event where you are using it for business. You can use it to force competitors to pay for you to make use of it. It is a wonderful tool that allows you to make money from your ideas.
If you are brilliant I guess you can just come up with ideas from the couch and make money by getting a patent for them.
Online stuff I think we should get a patent for
I want to patent the Facebook poke and charge Mark Zuckerberg money every time someone on Facebook pokes a friend. I will charge him 10c per poke
THE TEXT FIELD
This would be a simple patent.
An area on either any type of screen, where a user can insert data, either to supply data or create data in any form.
So the next time you enter a number on your cellphone and it displays the numerical values in the text box area of your screen, YOU SHOULD PAY ME. Let's be honest, these two example are stupid. So is Facebook now having a patent to share updates with a geo-location tag.
Next we will see the guy who created the SMS take Twitter to court. He was probably also trying to get 140 characters in his application, but had to settle for 160.