Good news for Facebook lovers – tagging of friends in image or video is now patent protected

Have you been tagged in a picture, video or audio on Facebook lately? If yes, ever wondered what has gone behind the scenes to make this feature available to all Facebook users? Well, if you have thought tagging your friend in a picture or video and letting them know via notification on Facebook was that simple, read on…

Facebook, the social networking giant, filled a patent application for tagging users in digital media in October 2006. Finally the patent was granted by United States Trademark and Patent office (USPTO) on Tuesday (May, 17th 2011), which means that no other social media site now can copy this feature.

The Facebook has claimed a method comprising of following steps in a patent:

a. Person uploads the digital media to Facebook’s server where it gets stored in its database.
b. Person then identifies his/ her friends (tagging) or known in the digital media (picture/ video/ audio etc.)
c. Facebook then sends notification to that person’s friend that he/ she has been identified.
d. If the identified friend in the media is not him/ her then he or she can reject the identification done from the person.

This has been granted to Facebook by USPTO now.

You may say, WOW! This is what I always do. Well, this is an invention which has been granted exclusively to Facebook and ofcourse its users are already enjoying it!

This is not the only patent; Facebook has a patent portfolio of close to 61 unique patents (~160 family members) filled from 2004 to 2010 with maximum patent activity seen in the year 2008. Though 2009 went a little slower but an increase can be seen once again in 2010. Facebook has yet not filled any new patent this year.

Most of the Facebook’s patent portfolio has sought protection in United States (US) (83%) followed by Canada (CA) (14%). Other countries like Europe (EP), Korea (KR) and South Africa (ZA) have been targeted but minimally.

So, keep waiting for many new and exciting features in the coming time from Facebook, as the patent grated last Tuesday on tagging in digital media was seeded in 2006 form Facebook.

Source: US7945653

Amit Kumar Mishra and Harit Mohan

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