USPTO already found the following prior art in their international search report:
US 2010/0293047 A1 (Schwartz et al.) (filed 14.05.2010)
US 7,406,434 B1 (Chang et al.) (filed 17.12.2001)
US 2011/0040611 A1 (Simmons et al.) (filed 13.08.2010)
I just thought of:
US20080046317 A1 (Christianson et al.) (filed 21.08)
Christianson's goal seems similar to ...
Another direction would be IRC, which dates from 1988, and the IRC web URL dates from 2003.
Fortunately, the authors of the patent define the terms:
"Social Network: Is a community of members or other individuals that share similar values or interests. Each member typically comes with a personal profile, which may contain demographics, psychographics or ...
How about - US 5,793,972 - System and method providing an interactive response to direct mail by ...Filing date: May 3, 1996 / Issue date: Aug 11, 1998
A system for providing an interactive response to direct mail programs comprises a recipient database, a mail generator, and a web server computer operationally connected through the Internet to remote ...
A quick search brought up wo9717774 selective advertisement presentation 1994
And wo9415294 interactive computer system with multiprotocol capability 1997 neither is cited on front page of the patent in question. Good luck.
Here is a link to the "Dynamic Search Ads" from google which is designed to respond to current search behavior and self-adjust. In addition it offers tracking and reporting facilities to monitor keyword campaign metrics so adjustments to targeting can be made.
This product uses "ads are answers" to allow a customer to refine targeting criteria for an ad ...
Do these help?
http://www.ppcevolution.com/mikespecial/ - Dec 2010
"This top-of-the-line Adwords management software automatically adjusts your Adwords campaigns to make them profitable by decreasing or pausing traffic to keywords losing you money, while increasing traffic to keywords making you money – all on complete autopilot!"
Looks like a patent on Usenet, which was established in 1980. Usenet provides a huge list of topics of interest, to a social network of subscribers, provides "pages" (i.e. articles) to subscribers based on their interests (Interactor zone), handles almost every type of content, and is carried over the internet.
I do like the IRC reference from carmogy. I do believe however that the BBS is quite directly related here. For me this patent just sounds like a message board with presence awareness.
From Wikipedia MajorBBS article:
MBBS software was known for fostering online communities and an interactive online experience where users were able to interact with each ...
In most countries, it is mandatory that patent applications are filed by patent attorney or agent registered in that country on behalf of inventor. For those countries means of payment of fees from 'your account' is purely academic. What @ DonQuiKong has said about payment procedure is right.
However, few countries like the US, India allow filing by ...
Let's first pardon my impertinence to answer my own question in an area where my knowledge is only cursory.
The patent application of Snapchat was what might be construed as overly broad and most, if not all, of the functionality of WhatsApp's feature of ephemeral status updates infringe upon it.
But the actually granted patent significantly narrowed ...
Without a deeper dive, you might have a case against the broadest one of the independent claims: claim 10.
However, independent claims 1 and 15 also contain a pay-for-emoji feature:
"prompting the viewing user for payment information associated with the selected emoji;"
It is not clear at all if Path had this functionality.
That becomes a trademark issue, rather than patents as this site is about.
But in essence, the idea of a trademark is to protect consumers from potential confusion. Speaking in somewhat abstract terms, you might a high-end restaurant that begins using McDonald's Golden Arches logo as their own. You can imagine a consumer driving by, seeing that logo, ...
I think it might depend on how public that posting was. Both of those social networks have privacy settings which limit the exposure to your posts. Was it posted to a single individual? Probably not considered disclosure. Public to the world, probably considered disclosure.
However, any such could establish a date for invention.
Another interesting older patent, overlapping with claim 1, and also filed in September 2006 (social network birth date?):
Systems and methods for discovering, creating, using, and managing social network circuits
US 7801971 B1
A social network circuit includes two or more members of a social
network in live communication with one another. ...
This AT&T patent seems VERY similar, although maybe too new:
Interactive community of interest profile
US 7970111 B2
A system for generating and working with communities of interests is
disclosed. In various forms, the present system allows multiple users
sharing common interests to interact with each other seamlessly, seek
It seems that if your users selected the profile of the bar from your app and your system indicated that they were present at said bar then you wouldn't be communicating location information which "comprises street addresses determined by processing a wireless positioning signal detected at a sensor in the mobile device." That language is from Claim 2 which ...