US Patent 7,853,881 Multi-user on-line real-time virtual social networks based upon communities of interest for entertainment, information or e-commerce purposes
Earlier this year a company called "Real Time Social Inventions LLC" filed suit in Delaware against Yammer, Salesforce, Facebook and five other defendants. Facebook requested a reexamination of the '881 patent with the USPTO. The Delaware case was stayed pending the disposition of the reexamination, which is ongoing now.
If additional prior art were found it could be considered now, during the reexamination process, and could be submitted by a third party.
Prior art from 2006 or earlier which might be relevant to any claim of the patent.
A Reexamination is a process whereby a third party (or inventor) can have a patent reexamined by a patent examiner to verify that the subject matter it claims is patentable. When a patent is placed in Reexamination in the USPTO during litigation in the US district court it very often results in a motion by the defendant to stay pending litigation. District Judges will often issue an order to stay pending litigation while the USPTO completes the reexamination process on the patents in the case (as the judge did in this case). Plaintiffs generally dislike this because it slows down litigation and drives up their cost. In addition it is potentially a catastrophic result for the plaintiff's case if the patent is determined to be invalid by the USPTO.
Real Time Social Inventions LLC v. Facebook Inc.
1-12-cv-00185 Filed 2/14/12 (Happy Valentine's Day?)
District of Delaware (Wilmington)
Patent(s): 7,853,881 by Hoyle
Title: Multi-user on-line real-time virtual social networks based upon communities of interest for entertainment, information or e-commerce purposes
"In a multi-user online real-time network in which users access content associated with a plurality of social networks related by common communities of interest, an interactor client application is embedded in content pages accessed by a user, and the user is provided a list of other users and the content pages in the related social networks that they are accessing. The inteactor client application cooperates with an interactor server application on a network server to enable a user to view the content being accessed by multiple selected ones of the other users, and to interact with the other users online and in real time. "
"The invention affords methods and systems that enable a user to find out particular information, content or products of interest by interacting with any of the members of a social network that share the same interest, or that are connected to the user through a known set of the social network members, or because of the activity they are engaged in, or content they are viewing at a given time."
Issue Date: Dec 14, 2010
Priority Date: US2006836273P / Aug 8, 2006 /
Claim 1. 1. A method of interacting in real-time with online users accessible through a computer network, comprising:
- accessing by a first user a first real-time social network comprising a community of members having a specific predetermined common interest, the first real-time social network being within an interactor zone that includes one or a logical collection of related real-time social networks, the first user accessing the first real-time social network using an interactor client application that allows the first user to communicate in real-time with other online users who are members of said first or another one of said real-time social networks;
- displaying in real-time to the first user identities of other users who are online at the time and who are members of the first or another one of said real-time social networks within said interactor zone and who choose to be identifiable; and
- enabling using the interactor client application real-time interaction by the first user with said selected ones of said other online users.
Claim 17. A method of real-time online interacting with users logged on to social networks in a computer network, the social networks being part of an interactor zone that includes one or a logical collection of related real-time social networks, comprising:
accessing by a first user a first real-time social network in said interactor zone using an interactor client application that allows the first user to communicate in real-time with other online users who are members of said first or another one of said real-time social networks;
displaying in real-time to the first user a list of other users who are online at the time and are accessing social networks within said interactor zone which meet predetermined criteria established by the first user, said displaying comprising displaying content pages being accessed by said other users who choose to be identifiable;
selecting by the first user for interaction selected ones of said other users based upon the content of the content pages; and
enabling real-time interaction by said client application between said first user and said selected ones of said other users.
Disclosure/disclaimer I have no financial relationship with either defendants or plaintiff in this case. I have not read the patent except to copy and paste the claim and abstract above. I am curious about whether AskPatents can be used to find prior art for patents in recently-filed litigation.
Please answer with any references to possible prior art OR interpretation of claims of the '881 patent