Patent on Social Network


I have an idea for a social network site. I know Facebook has many patents and I'm afraid of violating one of some of them. I'm not located in the US, main questions:

  1. Do you think I should talk with a lawyer and ask him to check the patent of Facebook and other companies before I start to work on the idea? I think that to do that I'll need a few thousand dollars and this is something I don't have now. What I really want is to start working on the idea and then receive funding and then pay for things like a lawyer and patent.
  2. Will a lawyer in my country be enough to check patents in the US?


Patent Social Network Provisional Patent

asked Jun 5 '11 at 04:44
24 points

2 Answers


Research "software patents"

Check out "Enough Is Enough" a popular blog post written by Fred Wilson. This info should lead you in the right direction.

answered Jun 6 '11 at 00:08
Con Schul1
1 point


Definitely consult with a lawyer.

Start with a lawyer in your country and ask him if he can search US patents.

In the mean time, keep working out your idea. There is a lot that can be done before actually going in to the production of it.

answered Jun 5 '11 at 05:19
Rafferty Pendery
466 points
  • Your suggestion is impractical. Every website you may develop will infringe many US patents, since basically everything is patented (link, buttons, payments included). So your lawyer should search US patents and evaluate whether they are defendable or not in court (looking for previous art, f.i.). Considering that it takes months to courts to establish whether one patent is legitimate or not, it's simply impossible. – Filippo Diotalevi 13 years ago
  • Filippo - Please look up the definitions of copyright and patent, they are worlds apart. Everything on the Internet is NOT patented. You also mentioned art (not even patentable), however is copyrighted. Patents are for very specific and unique applications. Just want to make sure false information isn't spreading. – Rafferty Pendery 13 years ago
  • sorry no. I know the difference between patent and copyright, and my comment stands: everything on the internet is patented. If you do a 5 minute search on Google, you will find that BT has been granted a patent on hyperlinks, for instance (which has been in court and eventually proved invalid), Amazon on the idea of having a 1-click to buy button, Lodsys on the idea of in-app purchase, Unisys of the GIF image format, Google a patent on "a method for periodically changing a home page so it appears to display a story line", facebook a patent on showing a news feed on social media. – Filippo Diotalevi 13 years ago

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Patent Social Network Provisional Patent