If you’re planning or have launched customized news pages, you better read this first. Yahoo! has been awarded a patent:
… a page server coupled to a network, a method of providing a customized page to a user, wherein the customized page is customized according to the user’s preferences, the method comprising: obtaining real-time information from information sources; storing the real-time information in a shared local storage device …
And it goes on … fairly comprehensively covering, as far as I can grok it, customized pages. I would think Google and NetVibes will be in long meetings with attorneys on Monday trying to figure out where they stand.
You know, patents are supposed to foster innovation. I can’t help but feel that patents like this and the Friendster patents, could hold back innovation. In this case, for example, there is still so much to learn about customized user experiences on the web. To have just one company control the idea could limit the opportunity for trial and error.
(via Greg Sterling)
FWIW, the patent looks to draw something of a line between pages customized based on explicit preferences as opposed to implicit behavioral preferences, with the latter not being covered.
That said, it’s a ridiculously overbroad patent in my inexpert, nonlegal opinion.
Glad to see you are a Heinlein fan. While “grok” means to understand or absorb, can’t it also mean (literally) eat or devour?