As far as I am concerned it is too broad to actually be enforced. You can't have a complete monopoly over a generic service. It would be like eBay trying to stop all other online auctions, or Escrow.com claiming exclusive use to that service online.
Brad, thank you for your response. I completely agree with your opinion, as it makes sense. Do you have any idea on what basis US patent office issued a patent for such a broad service? Cant Elance.com sue Guru.com and many others which are essentially providing the same service using same terminology, procedures and similar features?.
Well, anybody can sue anybody. But realistically they have no claim to exclusive use of a similar service.
Brad, I highly appreciate you taking time out to answer my questions. Is there any possibility that the other competitors are paying any kind of fee to Elance.com for using the service which is patented by Elance.com?.
I am surprised they own a patent on that. It seems to have been awarded before the internet really exploded in popularity.
I am not a lawyer, but common sense here would say I don't think they have much claim over the exclusive use of that type of service. It is far too broad.
I am sure if they had a legit case, they would have already brought it.
Oversee.net was recently awarded a patent on a wide range on domain services including expiring domain auctions. I am not sure how that will effect other services. In general the people awarding patents are not experts in the field. At some point common sense normally prevails.
No because by that rule there would only be one car repair service or something. And doesn't elance allow bidding but guru is fixed price?..
I've used Elance for a number of projects as a buyer and were dissapointed by a couple of things. Firstly, the general quality of bids I got following posting of precise sets of specs. I specifically asked for people not to copy and paste generic intros but address the brief. 85% of bidders didn't do that at all.
Secondly, I found it frustrating not to be able to contact a supplier in any way other than invite him to a project. One particular supplier that I did invite but wanted to chase him up with a message. There was no way to do so.
Is guru.com similar in this respect?..
Yes! Terminology used to describe some features might be different but the procedures and mechanism is the same. Couple of points in question here e.g. features like collaborative work space, buying/ selling of services and bidding on projects is not only used by Guru.com but many others. Another open source community product called LimeExchange.com is a good example using many features which in practical terms are patented by Elance.com...
Guru and Elance used to be considerably different in features and Elance actually adopted some features that Guru had that Elance didn't have. I used to be a provider on Elance and Guru ... the technology is different on each. You can't really patent providing freelance services any more than you can patent landscaping or any other service. You can only patent the technology used to deliver that service. Just a guess on my part...