What are the best Facebook patents? What are the most similar patents and who owns them?

Cluster Searching was developed to find similar patents to a single patent,  or a group of patents. This makes it ideal for reviewing what can even be a large portfolio of patents, and doing the likes of:

  • Identifying the most important patents in the portfolio, or;
  • Identifying the owners of the most similar patents –  both large and small companies.

As an example of this, we have looked at the patent portfolio of a well known company – Facebook. The objective of this search was to ask a couple of questions: 

  • What are the best Facebook patents for licensing? 
  • Which companies have the closest technologies to Facebook, ie. are most likely to want a license?

This is all rather straight forward using our subscription based software tool Cluster Searching.

 

What are the best Facebook patents?

These are presented in the table below, ranked by our proprietory metric AmberScore. AmberScore predicts the importance of patents based on their citation connections. Anything above 1.0 is above average for US patents, so these patents are well above average. 

Rank

Patent #

Original applicant (all are now owned by Facebook)

Title

Filing date

Amberscore values

1

US6236978

New York University

System and method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications

1997-11-14

24.5

2

US7765484

AOL, Inc

Passive personalization of buddy lists

2002-04-30

17.3

3

US7669123

Facebook*

System and method for dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network

2006-08-11

16.4

4

US7945653

Facebook*

Tagging digital media

2006-10-11

15.0

5

US7827208

Facebook

Systems and methods for generating dynamic relationship-based content personalized for members of a web-based social network

2006-08-11

13.4

6

US6714793

AOL, Inc

Method and system for instant messaging across cellular networks and a public data network

2000-03-06

12.1

7

US7284033

AOL, Inc

Systems for communicating current and future activity information among mobile internet users and methods therefor

2002-09-11

11.8

8

US6389127

ICQ Inc

Telephone status notification system

1998-06-26

11.8

9

US8171128

AOL, Inc

Communicating a newsfeed of media content based on a members interactions in a social network environment

2006-08-11

11.7

10

US7725492

Facebook, Inc

Systems and methods for generating a social timeline

2006-12-26

10.4

 

Not surprisingly, all of these patents are closely linked to social networking. Perhaps which is more surprising is that 

  • Less than half of these top 10 patents were originally filed by Facebook – they have acquired the rest.
  • Of the these top ranked patents, three mention Mark Zuckerberg as a listed inventor – in the words of Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg really did invent his own sutff

Amberscore values of 11 to 24 are high, but not the highest we have seen.

 

Which companies own the most similar and important patents?

We can assess this by determining the total Licensing Potential for the companies that own the most similar patents. 

These companies are shown in the figure below. Perhaps surprisingly, AOL heads this list, but Facebook have brought many patents from AOL – which would explain while the two portfolios are quite similar. 

Facebook-similar-companies.gif

The other companies are all recognisable as some of the leading companies in technology.

 

What were the most similar patents filed by these ten companies?

For each of the above listed companies, we have identifed the most similar patents to the portfolio of granted US patents owned by Facebook.


Company in top ten list


Most similar patent


Patent title


AOL INC


US7774711


Automatic categorization of entries in a contact list


MICROSOFT


US7167910


Social mapping of contacts from computer communication information


IBM


US6247043


Apparatus, program products and methods utilizing intelligent contact management


YAHOO


US7707122


System and method of information filtering using measures of affinity of a relationship


GOOGLE


US8311950


Detecting content on a social network using browsing patterns


AT&T


US6212548


System and method for multiple asynchronous text chat conversations


AMAZON


US6269369


Networked personal contact manager


INTEL


US7904511


Personal contact network


LINKED IN


US9043405


Method of leveraging social networking with a messaging client


LUCENT TECH.


US6301609


Assignable associate priorities for user-definable instant messaging buddy groups

 

 These patents are all in the area of social networking – their relevance to Facebook and its activities should be obvious to most. 

 

What are some similar patents that Facebook or a competitor might want to own – and are owned by smaller companies and potentially available for acquisition?

We can work this out by looking at the most similar patents,  and screening out those owned by large corporates. In the table below, we show the most similar five of these patents – but we identified a further 795 patents to consider. 


Patent


Patent owner


Patent title


US6073138


BOARDWALK AG


System, method, and computer program product for providing relational patterns between entities


US6175831


SIX DEGREES INC


Method and apparatus for constructing a networking database and system


US7325012


INTERFACE SOFTWARE INC


Relationship management system determining contact pathways in a contact relational database


US7228335


GOODCONTACTS RES LTD


Method of automatically populating contact information fields for a new contact added to an electronic contact database


US7725525


NET DEVA


Method and apparatus for internet-based human network brokering

 

Again, it is not surprising that these patents are all in the areas of social networking.

 

How we did it

We based this search on a list of granted US patents.

The rest of these steps are based on our tool Cluster Searching, downloading the results into Excel, and some basic analysis within Excel. We would be happy to discuss the details of this with users or potential users of Cluster Searching.

 

Who would benefit from this sort of analysis?

We expect that this sort of analysis, for example applied to other portfolios, would be of use to:

  • Investment managers or NPEs looking at portolios of patents – for example ranking the patents in the list, and trying to working out who they can enter into commerical arrangements with
  • Companies looking for similar patents to a portfolio of interest – which could be the owners of the portfolio, or other companies wanting to do business with the portfolio owner, or to strengthen their commecial position with respect to the portfolio owner. 

 

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