IBM Patent App: Filter Messages by Ratings in a Social Network

The International Business Machines Corporation, headquartered in Armonk, NY, is a major global manufacturer of computer hardware and software, especially for business applications. They provide physical products and consulting services designed to improve operational efficiencies for businesses in various ways. Recently, IBM announced the opening of its Accelerated Discovery Lab, a facility dedicated to finding new relationships between disparate data sets, providing the ability to use Big Data for increasingly groundbreaking discoveries in various fields. IBM is also getting involved in improving cloud security for businesses, recently announcing a business partnership with online security developer Akamai.

This week, IPWatchdog is taking some time in our Companies We Follow series to feature the undisputed top patenting company in the world — IBM. Today, we’re featuring a bevy of patent applications and issued patents featuring IBM developments in a wide range of computing services.

Our featured patent application describes a system of filtering social media messages sent to group members based on a recipient rating system. Negative ratings from group message recipients may be used to inform future methods of blocking similar messages from that sender. Other patent applications would protect more efficient systems of performing computer maintenance and identifying healthcare risks. Another patent application describes an improved coolant system for computing systems.

We’re also always looking for compelling new additions to IBM’s patent holdings, which provides a good idea of IBM’s current strength in research and development. A number of these patents deal with cloud computing. One issued patent protects a more seamless system for collaborative editing of online documents among multiple users. Another patent describes improvements to allocating digital services in a cloud environment to in a more cost-efficient way for businesses. We also focus on one patent that protects a system of more efficient display of documents on different devices.


Filtering Message Posts in a Social Network
U.S. Patent Application No. 20130282841

Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter give users the ability to communicate with large numbers of others who have similar interests. Joining groups typically allows users to quickly send messages to large groups of people. In this way, social media users can stay aware of important events or engage in a forum of conversation with others within a specific field.

Some aspects of group membership, however, are not conducive to effective communication. Sometimes when sending group messages, a user may send a message to an unintended recipient, or a person may receive a message that they do not want to view. For example, a spammer may join a group for the sole intent of sending advertising messages to group members, even when the goods or services advertised have nothing to do with the group.

This patent application, filed by IBM with the USPTO, protects a system of creating user profiles that can be weighted based on message ratings by recipients. If a user receives a message that they do not like, they can give a negative rating in a message feedback system. When the user sending the message tries to send another one, he will be notified that certain users should be removed from the mailing list based on the negative ratings.

A user could decide to continue sending the message to all possible recipients anyways, regardless of the social media software’s suggestion to remove recipients. In these cases, enough negative ratings from message recipients could provide for automatic filtering of messages. A plurality of ratings from group members could further provide for a system of weighting words or phrases with negative or positive ratings to aid in future message filtering.

Claim 1 of this IBM patent column would protect:

“A computer-implemented method executed by at least one processor for a social media mechanism to post a message, the method comprising the steps of: processing the message by a user to determine whether the message includes content that indicates recipients of the message should be filtered; when the message includes content that indicates the recipients of the message should be filtered, prompting the user to indicate the recipients of the message should be filtered’ in response to the user prompt, when the user enables the filtering of the recipients of the message, posting the message to less than all of the recipients; and in response to the user prompt, when the user does not enable the filtering of the recipients of the message, posting the message to all of the recipients.”


Other Patent Applications

From U.S. Patent Application No. 20130277012, titled “Apparatus to Cool a Computing Device.”

As always, we’re taking a look at a couple of other IBM patent applications to get an idea of what consumers and business clients can expect for the future of this computing services and products developer. At IPWatchdog, we’re noticing a couple of applications that pertain mainly to enterprise software for business or healthcare solutions. Improved methods of performing computer maintenance are outlined in U.S. Patent Application No. 20130283278, entitled Apparatus and Methods for Performing Computer System Maintenance and Notification Activities in an Opportunistic Manner. During normal business hours, an employee could indicate that they’ll be away from their computer for a period of time, during which time the computer system may be able to fully install a security update or perform other maintenance. U.S. Patent Application No. 20130282393, which is titled Combining Knowledge and Data Driven Insights for Identifying Risk Factors in Healthcare, outlines methods of identifying risk factors in patients to support more proactive medical treatment.


Other IBM patent applications would protect security improvements, both for computing safety and online intellectual property. Avatars and personal images may be afforded more security if the USPTO approves U.S. Patent Application No. 20130283055, filed under the title Virtual World Embedded Security Watermarking. This application describes a system of applying security watermarks to avatars used in virtual environments, or online pictures featuring a personal image, that includes contact information for the avatar’s creator or the person featured in the image. Computer hardware functioning will benefit from U.S. Patent Application No. 20130277012, titled Apparatus to Cool a Computing Device. This application describes a system of cooling a computing device using a liquid coolant instead of relying on forced airflow, providing more effective cooling.


Issued Patents of Note

From U.S. Patent No. 8566729, titled “Joint Editing of an On-line Document.”

IBM is a major developer of computing technologies for businesses and corporations, and new developments from the company are being protected each week by the USPTO. IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series is always interested in taking a look at the recent additions to a corporation’s patent portfolio. This week, we notice a large number of issued patents that have a number of productivity implications for businesses all over the world.

A couple of issued patents deal with document processing for editors as well as viewer displays. Limitations in collaborating with others on document creation are addressed in U.S. Patent No. 8566729, issued under the title Joint Editing of an On-line Document. This patent protects a system of allowing more seamless inputs between separate users on the same document accessible via cloud servers. U.S. Patent No. 8560943, entitled Displaying Documents on Mobile Devices, protects a computer program which has stored computer code allowing it to quickly resize documents for optimal display on smartphones and other devices with small screens.

Efficiency upgrades for various computer software programs with business applications are the subject of a trio of other issued patents we feature today. Improved methods of logging computer errors are protected by U.S. Patent No. 8566798, which is titled Capturing Context Information in a Currently Occurring Event. This system does a better job of logging contextual data during a computer process error, saving system resources typically used to recreate the error scenario. U.S. Patent No. 8370490, entitled Cloud Service Cost-Optimal Data Center Assignment, protects a system that helps businesses achieve real cost savings by automating the allocation of digital services based on customer subscriptions to those services. Finally, U.S. Patent No. 8566810, issued with the title Using Database Knowledge to Optimize a Computer Program, protects a system of utilizing metadata from databases accessed by computer programs to speed the processing of computer code run by the program.


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