And realize that if github and other social networks have similar features that were added after 2006, they are infringers, not prior art.
"attaching a link associated with at least one of the activities of another user to at least one of the plurality of news items where the link enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user"
The github news feed includes notifications of comments, and there is a link that can be used to go to the comment page and also comment. As I'm reading clause, the link itself doesn't need to actually cause an action, and the link in that github news item "enables a viewing user to participate in the same activity as the another user."
Also, you can edit and make commits from the web interface, so this could fall under this as well.
Ah, that would likely infringe. They could easily get around this by removing the direct link to comment and having users view the comment thread before commenting. Or have a text box instead of a link, where the user would enter their comment directly in the news feed.
Most bad patents die in obscurity, never enforced, never discussed -- which is as it should be.
The best thing to do if you hear informally about a dubious patent is to ignore it -- don't promote it, don't mock it, and for god's sake don't study it.
Of course, if your professional patent counsel tells you otherwise, for example after you are specifically alleged to infringe by someone with the power to prosecute, that's different. In the meantime, amateur patent kibbitzing only helps the trolls.
For developers without professional patent training, unless they've received a credible allegation (or lawsuit) of infringement from a patent-holder, or other business strategy considerations require them to do a patent survey, reading controversial patents is all cost, no benefit. This is especially true when the title or abstract piques interest.
@foobar said cool. <reply button> <retweet button>
That's an activity that can be public or only be viewed by your friends. People can participate by doing the same activity (retweeting or replying).
This also applies to google buzz, myspace, hi5, github comments, linkedin and tons of other services. It looks like the OP should re-read the patent.
Thank you freetard, that was insightful.
In this patent, "News Items" are different from status updates, which would be considered "actions". The related art section of the patent discloses that users of social networks can already see direct actions of other users, and the utility of this patent is to filter this list to dampen the noise. A more apt example would be twitter providing a list of people who have been recently followed by people that you are following, with the option of clicking the news item to also follow this new person.
How would that be more apt? In twitter you can make your account private, so only a few selected people can see your actions.
Also a retweet, a reply or even a tweet are all actions (the action to retweet, reply and tweet ie say something).