It is always hard to weed out of patent-speak what is really going on, but on the surface, as I read the claims, I keep thinking "are we not already doing that?". Maybe there are people who could point out what I am missing. I see that my question is similar to others asking about patents on electronic forums.
How is this patent different from existing long term online forums, email lists and the like?
Can you add a link to the patent? It would make it easier for people to find the patent you are referring to. Thanks.– Robert CartainoDec 20, 2014 at 17:35
This is not a patent, but a published patent application. The claims are published as originally filed. If and when the patent is actually granted, the scope of the independent claim will likely be further limited.
It seems the PCT application was originally sent to the EPO, but they declared lack of competence, possibly because it was considered to relate to business methods.
The subsequent International Search Report prepared by the USPTO seems to indicate that the USPTO may be inclined to grant claim 11. This claim specifies the automatically updated display of persistent online conversations across multiple devices.
Not sure if this can be considered an invention in January 2013.
Thanks for that. How does, say, Twitter fit into the picture in relation to automatic updates to displays across multiple devices? Dec 20, 2014 at 16:48
Well, I don't know much about Twitter. However, and without having analyzed the claim in detail, I believe most chat clients have supported multiple simultaneously running instances on different devices for a long time. Complete with automatic updates and display of message histories. You can probably read a 1990s-era newsgroup reader onto most of the claim. The difference then would at best be push notifications vs. fixed-interval polling - barely an argument for non-obviousness. I am afraid none of this will stop the USPTO, and of course, this is Captain Hindsight speaking, so... Dec 20, 2014 at 17:13
Facebook Messenger is definitely prior art for claim 11.– user13304Jan 21, 2015 at 11:23
A January 2013 priority date isn't going to help these guys get to allowance. According to portal.uspto.gov, the application is on final rejection (mailed 11/28/2014). This is the fourth rejection in this file's history (it was given a non-final rejection, then a final rejection, then a request for continued examination was filed, then a non-final rejection was issued, and now it is on final rejection again).
If you think you have prior art that would impact patentability, you can always provide it to the patent lawyers who are prosecuting the application (search Public Pair at http://portal.uspto.gov and search for 13/748,526). Because patent applications are ex-parte proceedings, the lawyers have an obligation to provide a copy of material prior art to the patent office.
But bottom line is that while there is always a chance that a patent application on its fourth rejection will eventually issue, this isn't one that is currently well positioned for issuance.