Go Zuck Yourself: Facebook destroys patent suit over timeline

Chalk one up in court for the Social Network


Facebook has prevailed in a suit over its iconic news feed and claims it ripped off the idea from a patent troll.

Judge John Koetl granted Summary Judgement [PDF] to House Zuck, approving its motion to dismiss an allegation that the Facebook timeline violated Mirror Worlds' purchased patents on the organization of messages and news items.

"After considering the parties tutorials, claim construction briefs, and summary judgement briefs, and after hearing the oral arguments it is plain that Mirror Worlds cannot establish that any of the Facebook Systems at issue contains a 'main stream' within the meanings of the patents in suit," Judge Koetl ruled.

Mirror Worlds had claimed that Facebook's iconic timeline interface borrowed from the patents it purchased around the operation of news feeds; US patent 6,006,227 , US patent 7,865,538, and US Patent 8,255,439 . The patents, Mirror Worlds argued, cover basic ideas of a timeline like the one Facebook uses as the basic splash screen for all user accounts.

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Facebook, meanwhile, had countered that none of its systems cover those patents, specifically, the TAO system that powers its timeline screen, were covered by the Mirror Worlds patents, and therefore the holding company can go take a hike.

Judge Koetl agreed, finding that Mirror Worlds could not explain how TAO was infringing on its patents, and therefore it didn't really have any grounds to sue Facebook for stealing its technology.

"To the extent not specifically addressed, the arguments are either moot or without merit," the Judge writes.

"For the forgoing reason, Facebook's motion for summary judgement is granted on the grounds of non-infringement."

Barring appeal, the decision means the case is finished. So Facebook has one less crisis to worry over, at least. ®

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