This patent is about the use of diaries with remote content (see quote), but given the current use of blogs (via sites as Blogspot, Wordpress etc) I would consider this to be a bit out-of-date.

A method and apparatus to create a "diary" containing multimedia references to contents of Websites. These references (also called addresses) can be to, for example, text, bookmarks, images, programs, movies, etc.

Aside from it's global usage, why did all these patents about 'physical products gone digital' (I mean, we already had an offline diary way before this patent was issued) get handed out in the first place? A lot of these products were already invented and I'm pretty sure that the issuers of patents like this weren't the only ones with such an idea, but merely the first one to get all the required resources together.



  • 2
    Just a comment on the phrasing of the question - "Would this still be valid . .?", and " . a bit out of date". Of course what happens after a patent is filed to make it widespread and commonplace has nothing to do with its novelty or obviousness at the time of invention or filing.
    – George White
    Feb 11, 2013 at 16:51
  • Regarding just making a digital version of a known physical product: I think a straight computerization of a paper diary would be a document you couldn't erase, could only add on to from the end and had a way to lock.
    – George White
    Feb 12, 2013 at 0:05
  • Wouldn't this be covered under prior art due the fact Wiki's were available since 1994. Four years before this patent was filed in Sep 1, 1998.
    – user3220
    Feb 12, 2013 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


As usual, there seems to be confusion about the scope of a patent. The scope of the patent is defined not by its title or abstract but by its claims. You have to read the claims.

While there are broad patents that simply end up claiming something "on the Internet" or "on a computer", they are very likely invalid and also (contrary to popular opinion) rather rare and typically anomalous. If you read the claims, you'll see that this one is far from being a patent on a "diary on the Internet."

At a quick glance, the claims require 1) a server sending (a) content of a "diary" and (b) time (presumably related to the "diary content"), (c) privacy level and (d) presentation information along with (e) configuration information to a remote browser, 2) and the browser then dynamically combining information from (a), (b), (c) and (d) based on the configuration (e) all into a cohesive page and displaying it, and 3) then receiving input that changes the information at the server.

Although steps 1) - 2) sound like what wikis, CMS and templating engines have done since forever, as far as I can tell, they always assembled pages at the server rather than in the client. (At least, this was so until 2003, when I last worked with CMS's.)

Additionally, the "privacy level" element seems to be something missing completely from wikis, CMS/template engines and other prior art that I can think of. It may be analogous to access control systems, but access control is evaluated at the server rather than the client. (Otherwise it's akin to saying "Here's data you don't have access to. Don't look at it.")

You might be tempted to think that elements (a) - (e) are just information, and steps 1) - 2) are no different from "sending information and markup from a server to a browser which then combines and displays it as a page", but patents don't work like that. Abstractions and simplifications do not apply well to claims, because, like contracts, they are legal documents, and each and every word is important. To generalize, each and everything specified in the claim has to be specifically described in one or more prior art references to invalidate the claim. Conversely, each and everything specified in the claim has to be performed by something for infringement to occur.

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