Facebook Timeline: Conceptualized in 2005, Patented in 2010, All Set to Influence us in 2011
As and when Timeline rolls out, an individual user, who has a professional career and a Facebook profile, will have to manage the relationship between both with a totally new approach. This is so because Timeline will change the way Facebook impacts our professional life. For example, it may lead to over sharing of information by the user which may reveal a bit too much to user’s colleagues. The Timeline presents so much in an easy to navigate format that it will be used extensively as a crucial component of hiring process.
Interestingly, a quick search of US Patent Office (USPTO) database reveals that Facebook’s patent for Timeline was filed in 2006, which was subsequently granted in 2010. The patent is titled “Managing information about relationships in a social network via a social timeline” and can be seen here.
The patent primarily relates to a system, method, and computer program for generating a social timeline. The crux of this patent is illustrated in flowcharts depicted in fig. 6 and fig. 7. While fig. 6 is a flow diagram of an exemplary process for ordering data for a social timeline, fig. 7 is a flow diagram of an exemplary process for generating a social timeline.
This analysis of Facebook’s timeline along with corresponding patent sets a great precedent for business owners to file a patent during the early stages of technology conception, so that when the product is ready to enter market, the patent process is completed and the patent is ready to be enforced in case of misuse by competitors.
With regards to protection of business idea and other intangible assets related to mobile app, please read our previous post regarding protection of internet business idea. Almost all the major protection mechanisms are applicable to mobile apps as well.
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