Facebook Caught In Another Patent Infringement Suit
It looks like some of Facebook’s lawyers will soon be making a trip to Delaware. A small company called WhoGlue, which is based in Baltimore, has sued the large social network over a patent WhoGlue was granted in July of 2007.
WhoGlue actually filed for the patent in May of 2001, which is a point in its favor since Facebook didn’t exist at the time. Also, WhoGlue’s CEO, Jason D. Hardebeck, holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the U. S. Naval Academy and an MS in Business from Johns Hopkins University, and those degrees give his actions a certain weight.
One other important detail: Robert McMillan reports that Siemens holds a 33 percent stake in WhoGlue.
However, even if this lawsuit isn’t borne out of complete lunacy (remember the handwritten suit against Google?), it may not bring Facebook to its knees. According to an official abstract, the patent covers "[a]n information management system, method and computer program code and means for facilitating communications between user members of an online network," and although the document goes into a lot more detail, the basic idea sounds little over-obvious.
As always, we’ll see what happens. WhoGlue is seeking monetary damages and a permanent injunction against further infringement.