Friendster lands a third patent

Look out, Friendster has a new patent. This one is potentially even vaguer than the last one too.

In another attempt to bolster its profitability, pioneering social-networking site Friendster said Thursday it has received its third U.S. patent in the past nine months.

Officially awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on March 6, Patent No. 7,188,153 B2 covers "System and Method for Managing Connections in an Online Social Network."

The San Francisco-based outfit's first patent, granted in July 2006, covers "A System, Method and Apparatus for Connecting Users in an Online Computer System Based on Their Relationships within Social Networks." It landed a second patent in October 2006 called "Method of Inducing Content Uploads in a Social Network," which is related to the process of adding text, video, pictures and additional content to other users' profiles.

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"These three patents address some fundamentals of online networking--establishing connections, distributing and sharing content, and managing connections over time," David Jones, vice president of marketing, said in a statement Thursday.

The company plans to continue making patent filings in hopes of "growing a very large, global business into an even larger and highly profitable one," Jones added, although he did not disclose any immediate plans to bring infringement suits or assert its patents against rivals.

Friendster, which launched as a "social experiment" in 2003, counts more than 40 million users worldwide and more than 19 million unique visitors per month, according to a company press release.

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    Anne Broache
    covers Capitol Hill goings-on and technology policy from Washington, D.C.
     

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