Patent suit filed against Facebook: Here we go again

Leader Technologies has filed suit against Facebook for alleged patent violations, but the allegations seems specious at best.

I'm sick of patent lawsuits.

Earlier this week Spansion filed suit against Samsung for alleged patent violations in the latter's flash chips. On Thursday, Leader Technologies actually issued a press release announcing a lawsuit before it had even bothered to serve notice on Facebook, as Techdirt points out.

Is Leader playing to the judge or to the media?

From the press release:

Leader was founded by Michael McKibben in 1997 and is a pioneer in Web-based collaboration platforms. Leader has filed several patent applications, dating back to 2002, that cover its technology. "We have spent a great amount of time and effort in procuring our intellectual property," says Michael McKibben, founder of Leader and named inventor of Patent No. 7,139,761, "and have taken the steps necessary to protect our proprietary and inventive ideas."

Indeed. You may remember Leader from...well, no, you've never heard of them. At least, I haven't. Leader bills itself as "The Intellectual Capital Company," and lists its products as "Web-based collaboration platforms that merge voice and data." Yet Techdirt parses the patent and describes it as dealing with a "rather obvious process of associating a piece of data with multiple categories." Techdirt suggests that Google would have been a more obvious target.

Regardless, patents have become the province of also-ran companies seeking to milk their "intellectual property," which often is light on both intellect and property.

If you spend more than a millisecond on Leader's Web site, it becomes plausible that Leader is suing Facebook simply to raise money to improve its Soviet-era site. Leader should go away.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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