Six Degrees of Mark Zuckerberg
As we all may have noticed at some point there is a list of references cited adorning the face of every US patent. Utilizing these lists of references cited, patents can be connected to other patents through the references cited on their own face, as well as the instances where the patent is cited on a subsequent patents face. By connecting patents in this manner a network begins to form and begs the question: How many steps would it take to connect any patent with any other patent?
So, starting with any patent where would we find ourselves after 6 steps through the references cited network? Today we socialize the patent network with a patent from Mark Zuckerberg.
Start: US 7,669,123 B2, a method of displaying a news feed in a social network environment regarding activities associated with a user
First Degree: US 7,013,292 B1, an online gift registry
Second Degree: US 4,980,826 A, a voice actuated and automated system for transacting sales of a particular futures commodity
Third Degree: US 4,305,131 A, a system where the viewers influence the course of a motion picture through speech commands
Fourth Degree: US 4,857,030 A, talking toy dolls that simulate intelligent conversation
Fifth Degree: US 5,559,495 A, a visual and audible alert to prevent a driver of a motor vehicle from falling asleep
Sixth Degree: US 3,715,897 A, an automated knitting machine
So there you have it, in 6 steps you can connect a broadcast of your online activities and a machine to knit a new pair of mittens.
While this journey represents one connection path for the Zuckerberg patent, feel free to follow your own path of patent connection intrigue and share it in the comments section below. Have a suggestion for an inventor or invention you would like to see in the Six Degrees post? Share that in the comments too!