Facebook sued over social networking patent

A Baltimore software company claims a patent on 'personal information management system'

Facebook has been sued by a software company in Baltimore that claims the social-networking site is violating a two-year-old patent.

WhoGlue filed its lawsuit Monday in Delaware federal court. The company's patent covers an "information management system, method and computer program code and means for facilitating communications between user members of an online network," according to the patent description.

WhoGlue's filings are vague on exactly how Facebook might violate the patent, but it appears to have an issue with the privacy controls Facebook has instituted over the past two years to give its users greater control over who sees what on the social-networking site.

"Recently, the big social networking sites have begun to realize that it's not just about making it easy to share information ... it's also about making it easy to control access to that information," company CEO Jason Hardebeck wrote in a July 11 blog posting. "We figured that out a long time ago; as a matter of fact, we filed for a patent called 'Distributed personal relationship information management system and methods' (remember, this was before 'social networking' came into vogue) way back in 2001."

The company is asking the court to award damages and attorney fees and to stop Facebook from further infringement.

Founded in 2001, WhoGlue sells Web-based relationship management software used by groups such as alumni organizations. The patent in question was issued in July 2007, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Technology giant Siemens holds a 33 percent stake in WhoGlue, according to a 2008 list of the company's subsidiaries.

WhoGlue's Hardebeck declined to comment on the case, saying via e-mail that "at this time we aren't making any public comments."

Facebook representatives did not return messages seeking comment.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Facebooksocial networkingWhoGlue

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?