On Thursday, the USPTO published a patent application filed by Facebook which caught interest of masses. The patent – Event-Based Ridesharing – reveals Facebook’s intentions to join a battle which behemoths like Uber and Ola are already fighting.
After reading the title of the patent, I was like – this is cool, this is going to be big. I assumed that FB is going to give Uber, Ola run for their money.
With that thought in mind I started reading the claims. And as soon as I read the first independent and its dependent claim, the assumption of FB giving Uber, Ola or other such companies a hard time evaporated like water evaporates from the Sun’s surface.
Patents are from inventions. And Facebook’s patent doesn’t qualify to be called as an ‘invention’ at all. It’s obvious. There’s nothing novel in it. The patent basically is a crap. Here is what I identified, check it and decide.
The patent describes displaying different events like party, movie plan or travel plan to users. These events include details like date, location etc. and further give options to indicate your intention; for example, if you want to attend and drive to the event or not.
And FB wants to use this indication for ride sharing purpose.
After reading the patent, I headed to one of the event pages on Facebook and webpage of BlaBlaCar. Below is the snapshot of that event. You can see that event page contains same details as mentioned in the patent.
Here is another snapshot for indicating your choices –
So this already exists in FB itself and that too for a long time. Now we are left with the “ride sharing” thing which as per FB is something new.
Have a look on snapshot of BlaBlaCar. Now the onus is on you to decide whether it’s invention or a blatant cribbing.
Let me help you one more time in making your decision. The patent filing date is July 25, 2014 and BlaBlaCar is a ten year old company which connects drivers and passengers willing to travel together and use social media integration also.
A patent application gets granted if it satisfies following three conditions:
- Novelty i.e. the concept described in a patent should not exist – in written form or in usage.
- Non-obvious i.e. the concept should not be obvious.
- Industrial application.
So, this patent may never see the light of a granted day. A patent examiner will, for sure, reject this patent on non-obviousness and novelty ground as it’s already in existence and isn’t a new concept at all.
Below is the first independent claim of the patent application in case you like to take a dive in it –
A computer-implemented method comprising: presenting, to a first user of a network service, a description of an event, a selectable option for the first user to indicate an intention to attend the event, and an indication of users of the network service that intend to attend the event;
receiving an indication that the first user intends to attend the event; receiving a selection of a set of one or more users of the network service the first user is willing to take as passengers to the event;
receiving an indication that a second user of the network service intends to attend the event;
and presenting the first user as a potential driver to the second user in response to receiving the indication that the second user intends to attend the event and determining the second user is within the set of one or more users.
Now, many companies are moving toward ride sharing. And Google is planning some amazing things for ride sharing with its Waymo and Maps app. One new feature is automatic scheduling of booking cabs which soon roll out in its Map.
13 thoughts on “Facebook Copied The Ridesharing Feature from BlaBlaCar”
They are just adding an obvious feature to already existing technology.
My point of view is that ,the patent filed by Facebook lacks the ‘Novelity’ aspect. As already explained by you that Novelity is related to something new. And this ride sharing feature is already in existence by Bla Bla car. In addition to that, I feel it can be considered as a ‘Non-Obvious’ thing. But yes, lack of any of 3 conditions( Novelity, Non-Obvious,Industrial applicable) will not get it Granted.
The feature of creating an event on Facebook existed much before the creation of Blabla car. According to the wiki page, the idea of Blabla car was conceived in December 2003, while its operations started in 2006.
Kindly refer to the information below regarding the “Events feature” on facebook. This information dates back to March 2003.
More than 3.5 million events are created each month and the average user is invited to 3 events per month. An event page is similar to any other events listing you would see—it lists what the event is, the time it begins, where the event takes place, the cost of the event, and any other important information you would
want people attending to know. For example, if you were holding a watch party on election night, you could create an event page and invite Facebook friends in your town to attend. When people receive the invitation on Facebook, they can choose to attend, not attend or maybe attend. So once you invite all your friends to attend the watch party, the page will reflect how many of those people plan on attending.
Having read this information, it appears that facebook is infact filing for an age old feature which is essentially its own. Still, the patent can’t be granted as the inventor has to file within an year of disclosing
However, wouldn’t it be harsh to say that Facebook copied Blabla car ?? It may be the case that the whole idea of Blabla car is inspired from Facebook’s “create an event” feature.
Rajat, Facebook was launched in 2004. This guide must get published after that and the feature must have gotten added after that too. And where in the guide is written that the feature dated back to 2003? I only able to spot the stats of FB events. Plus, as FB get launched in 2004 and took its own sweet time to reach 3.5 million + events. And lets say if out of 2 person, one is creating an event (well it is way below that, but let’s say) then also this phenomenon of creation of 3.5 million event must have occurred after 2010 as FB hits 500 Million users in 2010.
And I was not able to spot the publication details of this pdf. I believe it must have gotten published sometimes in 2010.
Thanks for bringing the mistake into my notice. Actually, the Google search results depicted that the pdf was published in march 2003.
Given the fact that the idea of blabla car was conceived in December 2003, it is quite clear that there is no way facebook is going to get this application patented.
I think Facebook should pay royalty to blabla cars if they want to add ride sharing feature in their product. 🙂
Facebook is trying to take the next big step in social network interactions, but yes, its highly unlikely that the mentioned patent is going to be granted, on the ground of not being novel (presence of BlaBlaCar since 2006).
It seems like Ola and Uber will lead the market for quite a while.
Or may be FB will put pressure on BlaBlaCar to get along and do business together. There will be no need of patents. It may form a venture with Lyft which does the same thing. Multiple possibilities are there except of this patent getting through.
Yeah, not pressure but facebook may try to acquire or associate with some start-up or something to get a head start into the market.
As BlaBlaCar already using this technology so in Facebook patent application nothing is novel. Ride Sharing technology is already in usage.So the idea of Facebook is obvious.
My point of view is Facebook is playing very big game on their own luck and also Blablacar not patent their idea.So if Facebook implement this idea no one can sue them. This will increase more no. of user and companies like Uber Ola Taxiforsure will be at stake
In order to book a ride in blablacar , one need to have facebook account as facebook connect is mandatory in blablacar in order to check the authenticity of both passenger and driver . Facebook might have thought that why not merge these two things.
It would be easy from user point of view as well. Instead of making a separate account on blablacar and then connecting it with facebook, it would be great if we could directly book a ride from facebook.
But YES, the patent would not be granted as such, untill the Facebook plays with claims well.
According to my point of view, facebook wants to expand its market in every field. like past whatsapp was enjoying its journey at peak and facebook took over the company. And nowadays uber and blablacar are
at high trend , and facebook is trying to be there also.
As every second person is having their accounts on facebook , so for booking a cab everyone will choose facebook account , and uber , ola and others will be at stake.
But the patent for sure will not be grant as its an obvious thing. but facebook can easily use this , because no one can sue them.