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Re: Facebook's Patent

Jeff Sayre


Only time will tell. I imagine a competent lawyer could argue that Channel Definition Format (CDF)–the original subscribable news feed and the precursor to RSS 2.0–was created by Microsoft in the mid 1990’s long before Zuckerberg even knew how to spell computer. It led to the wide-spread use (via RSS 2.0) of creating and distributing syndicated content throughout the Internet.

So, did Facebook invent the news feed? No. They may have been one of the first to have locked it inside its own walled garden–which is antithetical to the spirit of the news feed. But IMO this is just an application of the concept, not a demonstrable innovation of something sufficiently new and patentable.

I imagine that some of the earliest blogging networks (before Facebook’s time) might be seen as early walled gardens and therefore their RSS feeds could be looked at as internal to the network. If you weren’t a member, you could not get access to the feed. So WordPress could then be viewed as the facilitator of the first internally-subscribable news feeds.

As a fully-licensed and practicing armchair lawyer, I look at this as just another example of a very large, powerful company being able to successfully overinflate its importance and contributions to the USPTO. Clearly the lead government patent lawyer failed the public on this one.

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