Not long after the news about Blackboard being granted a patent on LMS (Learning Management System) and turning against their own community in a situation where a lot of prior art exists, Microsoft is this time around to patent Social Software with their own army of spinmasters. Here is part of the abstract:
“…a unique system and method that facilitates self-regulation of a social network system based at least in part on user behavior, and in particular on good or desirable user behavior. The system and method involve monitoring user behavior such as user activity and user interactions with other users and the network itself. … By watching user behavior and promoting good behavior in this manner, the social network can be managed and self-regulated to optimize the utilization and distribution of both limited and unlimited assets (e.g., network created and user created assets or resources).”
Sounds a lot like social software to me… Based on the past performance, it’s obvious that the process for checking prior art at USPTO is flawed. I’m not surprised if this application goes through. I would propose that the fee for every patent application is doubled and the other half is dedicated as a reward for anyone who proves that prior art exist to invalidate the patent application in question.