Should BuddyPress Sites Be Worried By New Facebook Patent?

Should BuddyPress Sites Be Worried By New Facebook Patent?

Yesterday, the US Patent Office officially approved this patent by Facebook which was filed way back in May of 2004.

The patent has two main parts:

1. Profile viewing – the members of a social network can manage who can see their profiles and “limited profiles” are shown to non-approved members or the public

2. Messaging – there is a method for members who have an approved relationship to message and contact each other, including through text and email

I’m definitely no lawyer, but I have been trying to decipher all of this to figure out if many BuddyPress sites might be using similar enough features that Facebook could potentially file suit.

The ZDNet blog post about this makes the claim that many tech companies hold patents for “defense purposes” only and don’t necessarily enforce them.

But still it is kind of scary that Facebook would potentially now have one more weapon to stop any BuddyPress powered social network that gets too big for their britches, don’t you think!?

Any thoughts or reassurances?