Facebook the subject of patent infringement lawsuits

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

Recently, the social-networking giant Facebook has been the subject of business litigation by Yahoo! Inc. In that case, Yahoo! is seeking triple damages for what it claims is the infringement of its intellectual property, including 10 patents involving Internet privacy, advertising and information sharing.

And this is not the first time that Facebook has been the subject of such litigation. In fact, last year Facebook was among the top 28 targeted defendants in intellectual property cases.

In the hopes of expanding its patent protections, and in an effort to protect itself from these and similar lawsuits, Facebook has recently acquired 750 patents from IBM Corporation. The patents Facebook recently acquired involve various areas of technology that concern Facebook’s business.

IBM can be considered as the king of patents as it has in fact been a leader in the patent acquisition area during the past 19 years. Last year alone, it was the recipient of more than 6,000 patents. No wonder IBM has been offering some of its patents for sale to other Internet companies.

Facebook’s other major competitors, Google Inc. and Microsoft, each already has a stockpile of patents to protect their interests. Will this new acquisition of patents by Facebook protect it from future intellectual property lawsuits?
Investors in Florida who are considering purchasing a share in Facebook would certainly hope so, but that may not be realistic. As Facebook’s business expands and changes, it is expected that it will continue to be the target of business lawsuits from other rivals who are concerned about protecting their own businesses.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Facebook Is Said to Buy 750 IBM Patents to Boost Defenses,”Brain Womack, March 22, 2012