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TechCrunch says:

Apparently, a division of the Phoenix company’s People2People Group called Tele-Publishing filed the complaint in US District Court in Boston last Wednesday, alleging that Facebook’s “computer network and method of creating and sharing a personal page’’ is covered by one or more claims of a patent issued by the USPTO in June 2001.

The company, which provides multimedia personal and dating services ads to 200 newspapers and broadcasters nationally, says the patent includes an online template and graphics for building a personal Web page and also provides users with a secure way to share personal information with other computer network users. It’s unclear what damages Tele-Publishing is seeking.

More info on the Boston Business Journal website.

My first sysadmin, who is now an engineer at Twitter, built the first iteration of the Phoenix’s online dating site. An institution here in New England, the Phoenix has a storied past. Its sad to see them resort to these kinds of tactics.

I highly doubt they have any chance of extracting cash from Facebook, seems like a desperation move based on a patent that many are skeptical of. There is bound to be endless examples of prior art that will be reviewed. Geocities comes to mind, so do Yahoo profile pages and even a site I worked on in 1995. The USPTO is seriously broken, and this is yet another example a government run system that needs a complete overhaul.

I would think the patent in question has direct relevance to the online dating industry. Agree or disagree?