Prominent thought leaders in the tech world are also upset. Venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote on his blog this morning, “The patents that Yahoo! is suing Facebook over are a crock of [expletive]. None of them represent unique and new ideas at the time of the filing. I supect they all can be thrown out over prior art if Facebook takes the time and effort to do that.”
We’ve broken out the 10 patents at issue in the lawsuit below, along with our best efforts at a translation into plain english. Lawyers and IP folks, let us know in the comments if we’ve got anything wrong.
US Patent 7599935 Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user’s authorization level (Filed 2005, Issued 2009)
Translation: A way to preview the stuff you will be sharing with friends.
Enabling a first user to preview content as it would be seen by a second user, if the second user had a selected user relationship with the first user. The selected user relationship may include a relationship degree, a relationship category, a relationship rating, and/or other form of relationship. In one embodiment, a user interface enables the first user to assign user relationships to portions of content and to other users. The first user selects a user relationship, which is used to access those portions of content that are associated with the first user and assigned the selected user relationship. The corresponding portions of content are used to generate a preview display for the first user, illustrating the portions of content that would be accessible to other users assigned the same user relationship or assigned a closer user relationship. Preview may be generated by a server or a local client.
US Patent 5983227 Dynamic Page Generator (Filed 1997, Issued 1999)
Translation: A way to produce a customized homepage without to much strain on your servers.
An custom page server is provided with user preferences organized into templates stored in compact data structures and the live data used to fill the templates stored local to the page server which is handing user requests for custom pages. One process is executed on the page server for every request. The process is provided a user template for the user making the request, where the user template is either generated from user preferences or retrieved from a cache of recently used user templates. Each user process is provided access to a large region of shared memory which contains all of the live data needed to fill any user template. Typically, the pages served are news pages, giving the user a custom selection of stock quotes, news headlines, sports scores, weather, and the like. With the live data stored in a local, shared memory, any custom page can be built within the page server, eliminating the need to make requests from other servers for portions of the live data.