I’m not a patent lawyer, but looking at the claims, the way that forums like HN, Reddit, IRC implement shadow banning do not appear to infringe on this patent.
It seems likely to me that by the time the claims were done being narrowed after the multiple rounds of rejections, they have managed to patent something narrow enough that only they are actually doing it.
Specifically, any kind of shadow banning that occurs at the level of a “channel” wide audience, and not a one-to-one connection, appears to not be covered.
The way to read the claims, as I understand it, is everything within a single claim is a logical AND in order to infringe the claim, and dependent claims require everything in the parent claim as well as everything in the subsequent one to hold true. If any one part of a single claim does not apply to your system, then you do not infringe that particular claim.
Should Facebook be able to take a hyper-specialized application of a common feature and patent that particular application? It comes down to whether their implementation is unique and distinctive enough to be novel and non-obvious.
I do think in this case it’s totally dicey to say that shadow banning on a friend-based feed versus a channel-based feed is really a novel and non-obvious application of shadow banning. But at least it is a fairly narrow application that they are claiming.
If you want to show prior art against this patent, I assume it would have to be on a friend-based feed and not a channel-based feed.
The first thing I would do if taking this to court would be to read “green eggs and ham” to the jury. Facebook is trying to patent a particular place where you can eat green eggs and ham. It’s nonsense and should be thrown out, and they should be embarrassed to have pursued this. But it’s also not really that worrisome.
No, because in the context of current state of communication software it was totally obvious to translate the idea of shadow banning to a “friend-based feed”.
>But it’s also not really that worrisome.
A huge company shrinking the space of available programming techniques for no good reason by abusing laws that were supposed to boost innovation is pretty worrisome.
This is how it's supposed to be, but with today's courts/lawyers does it actually hold up? I remember reading that in the Apple v. Samsung lawsuit that the jury ruled Samsung violating certain claims of specific Apple patents, but not all the claims of each, in their final judgement. I think an infringing judgement was even made on some dependent claims when the independent claim wasn't deemed as infringed upon.
I think that anyone hit with this could argue for dismissal under Alice.
If not, what would be the status of the court transcript???