The number of litigation cases in the area of social networking is slowly increasing. Facebook, which was recently sued by MacroSolve for patent infringement has been sued again in Delaware District Court for patent infringement. Little known, California based, Real Time Social Inventions LLC has sued Facebook, Salesforce.com Inc., Rockmelt Inc., Conduit USA Inc., Yammer Inc., Glam Media Inc. and Oracle Corporation for infringement of US7,853,881 (the ‘881 patent) on February 14, 2012.
The ‘881 patent was issued on December 14, 2010 and includes 3 independent claims and 22 dependent claims. The ‘881 patent i9s related to social networks where members may interact online and live (in real-time) in the context of some particular content or activity.
The first independent claim reads:
A method of interacting in real-time with online users accessible through a computer network, comprising: accessing by a first user a first real-time social network comprising a community of members having a specific predetermined common interest, the first real-time social network being within an interactor zone that includes one or a logical collection of related real-time social networks, the first user accessing the first real-time social network using an interactor client application that allows the first user to communicate in real-time with other online users who are members of said first or another one of said real-time social networks; displaying in real-time to the first user identities of other users who are online at the time and who are members of the first or another one of said real-time social networks within said interactor zone and who choose to be identifiable; and enabling using the interactor client application real-time interaction by the first user with said selected ones of said other online users.
The assignment history of ‘881 patent discloses the original assignee as ISQ Online, which is an online shopping application that utilizes social networks for its functioning.