Briefly Noted for March 4, 2010

Facebook, Google, Apple: Patents Gone Wild — The last ten days or so have seen a flurry of suspect behavior by large technology companies, their intellectual property lawyers, and the United States Patent Office. First, Facebook secured a patent for “dynamically providing a news feed,” which has likely caused some consternation among the folks at Twitter and Google Buzz. Then, Google secured its own patent for “using location information in an ad system” spelling trouble for Microsoft’s Bing, Facebook, and any other company looking to push ads to users of their services based on location information sent from mobile devices. This includes Apple, which recently acquired a company called Quattro Wireless, apparently in hopes of using its technology to deliver location-based ads to iPhone users. Finally, Apple got into the patent game itself, filing a patent-violation suit against HTC, maker of Google’s Nexus One smartphone, accusing the company of infringing more than twenty iPhone patents. This is getting ugly.

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