This is a re-post of Blueplastic's question from SO, which was closed. I think this is a excellent question and I would like to hear what people thinks.
To expand this further, look at the patent that Yahoo is suing Facebook for:
Some of these patent are so broad and I wouldn't be surprised that many developers could inadvertently developed their application to function in such a way.
I understand that patent is supposed to protect intellectual property and promote innovation. However, it seems that if certain popular techniques are patented, it will become a hindrance to innovation.
- What if there is a patent on URL shortening?
- What if there is a patent on WYSIWYG editor?
- What if GO4 patented their design patterns?
I am not a lawyer so these items may not be patent-able, but that's also part of the question I guess.
Anothe excellent article discussing the issue: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2012/03/opinion-baio-yahoo-patent-lie/
Yesterday it was published that Facebook has gotten a patent for tagging people in pictures: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/05/17/facebook-patent-photo-tagging/
What does this mean for other developers?
So, if I want to make a web-based photo sharing application where I want to let users tag their friends, does it mean that I have to give Facebook royalties?
I believe iPhoto and Picasa also have people tagging features. Do they now also have to give Facebook royalties?