Microsoft Social Networking Patent Application on Peer-to-Patent

Via INSNA and Mark Surman (who is doing seriously cool things with the Shuttleworth Foundation around Open Everything), I was copied on a request to look at prior art around a Microsoft patent application:


Microsoft has a patent application posted on the Peer-to-Patent site for Recommending contacts in a social network.

We are soliciting your help and that of the communities you know in finding prior art that will help the Patent Office to examine this application and determine if it deserves a twenty-year grant of rights to prevent all others from making, using, or selling this invention (this includes any research and R&D that would touch upon the claims of the invention, if patented). Can you let people know about this opportunity? We invite them to submit:

  1. prior art
  2. to annotate the prior art submitted by others
  3. to vote on the relevance of the public submissions, and
  4. to suggest fruitful avenues for research for the USPTO when examining this application.

Peer-to-Patent is not just another blog, wiki or website. It is an "extension" of the government institution! Posted information will be forwarded directly to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and be used in the examination process.

Here's a bit more detail about the application and about Peer-to-Patent:

Recommending contacts in a social network

A method and system for recommending potential contacts to a target user is provided. A recommendation system identifies users who are related to the target user through no more than a maximum degree of separation. The recommendation system identifies the users by starting with the contacts of the target user and identifying users who are contacts of the target user's contacts, contacts of those contacts, and so on. The recommendation system then ranks the identified users, who are potential contacts for the target user, based on a likelihood that the target user will want to have a direct relationship with the identified users. The recommendation system then presents to the target user a ranking of the users who have not been filtered out.

<p>Peer-to-Patent is an initiative of New York Law School's Institute for Information Law and Policy in cooperation with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The pilot program allows for public participation in the patent examination process by inviting the public to submit annotated prior art relevant to examining computer and software-related patent applications.</p> <p>The Peer-to-Patent Web site enables those who sign up to:</p><ul><li> review and discuss posted patent applications</li><li>share research to locate references to relevant earlier publications</li><li>submit these prior art references with an explanation of relevance annotate and</li><li>evaluate submitted prior art winnow the top ten prior art references, which, together with commentary, will be forwarded directly to the USPTO </li></ul><p>Reviewing patent applications is free and open to all via the Peer-to-Patent Web site at http://www.peertopatent.org. Bloggers are invited and encouraged to host their own conversations about pending patent applications and then submit prior art via the Peer-to-Patent website. Any assistance you can provide by encouraging participation in the Peer-to-Patent review process will be helpful.</p>