Feeds

Google, Facebook cop for preposterous patent potshot

Bits of the internet on a phone? WE OWN THAT!

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Gathering information from around the internet and presenting it on a mobile phone is protected by patent, according to Wireless Ink, which is suing Google and Facebook over it.

The patent covers the aggregation of information for presentation to interested individuals on a mobile phone, and was granted in October last year having been filed back in 2003 when Winksite (the brand operated by Wireless Ink) started offering such a service for free.

Winksite allows users to create identikit mobile sites which contain data gathered from RSS feeds, and "community message" boards. Winksite claims 75,000 users, but a quick browse of its existing customer base shows lots of communities with just the one member and very few showing any notable activity.

But the company does have a US patent on a content management system that enables "the user to enter information in accordance with a specified format comprising a plurality of selectable mobile information channels... The entered information is processed to generate for the user a mobile site comprising information content".

One might imagine than any mobile RSS client would also be in breach, but the details include server-side aggregation, and the facility for a user to create a community of interested people. As the patent explains: "A given mobile site may be shared by a group of members having a common interest. The mobile site may comprise, for example, a collaborative workspace, a data mailbox, a collaborative community, or other similar element(s)."

So Google Buzz and Facebook groups would certainly seem to fall foul of the patent, as it stands, but you can be sure that neither company is going to take this lying down. "This suit is without merit and we will fight it vigorously," Facebook told the Wall Street Journal. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.