Friendster has been award a patent on social networking from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Patent number 7,069,308 was filed three years ago by Friendster's founder Jonathan Abrams and was awarded on 27 June 2006. Friendster was an early titan in social networking websites, but has been eclipsed by MySpace.
The patent is quite general and describes how registered users are linked to each other. It also claims that a social network accelerates dating and the creations of business relationships because people are more comfortable talking to a friend of a friend, rather than a complete stranger.
It is unclear at this time if Friendster plans on enforcing the patent against any other social networking websites. Friendster's President Kent Lindstrom told RedHerring.com that "It's way too early to say," but ominously added, "We'll do what we can to protect our intellectual property."
Friendster has hit some rough times with declining traffic and dwindling capital. The company is trying to turn itself around and still ranks as the 47th most visited site on the Internet, according to Alexa.com. Back in February, investors recapitalized the company, pulling it out of debt. Now Friendster is aiming at its traditional market of well-to-do professionals, rather than meeting MySpace head-on in the teenager market.
This patent is the start of Friendster's patent flurry and Lindstrom said it's just the first of, "many expected to be awarded."