The following is excerpted from a January 23, 2011 post written by Mark Nowotarski and published by IPWatchdog:
Social networking is one of the fastest growing subject matter areas in the US patent office. The graph [above] shows the rate at which these applications have been filed and rate at which patents have issued from these applications over the past few years.
George is just one example of the enormous number of inventions being made to serve our newly emerging social networking economy. George was created using a patent pending process called Evolver. He’s an avatar that can be transported to any number of different full immersion virtual world networking sites.
Traditionally, patents on George, or in this case, methods to make George, claimed the “static computer readable medium” (e.g. disk) that it was stored on. This approach, however, is rapidly becoming obsolete now that static computer readable mediums are no longer needed to store, distribute or execute computer implemented inventions. A new solution must be found if social networking patents are to be at all enforceable and hence commercially relevant. It’s a problem that the patent bar, patent office, courts and inventors are wrestling with right now. Some people are having success, but as yet there is no magic bullet. Success is highly dependent upon your particular case and the skill of your patent agent or attorney.
Read the full post here.