Facebook Sued Over “Like” Button

The soap opera-like world of patents and lawsuits keeps on turning, with the freshest allegation being one lobbed at Facebook.

Rembrandt Social Media, which doesn’t appear to actually operate any services in the social media realm, is suing Facebook over a patent for something similar to the “Like” button, which was originally filed for and granted to a now-deceased Dutch programmer named Joannes Jozef Everardus van der Meer. Van der Meer’s patent was for a button to be placed on third-party websites that would work with a personal web diary. Later, van der Meer would attempt to implement that patent in a social media site called Surfbook, but he died in 2004, and nothing came of the site. Rembrandt Social Media would later acquire van der Meer’s patents.

Van der Meer would receive two patents in the United States in 2001 and 2002 – one for the idea behind the “Like” button, the other for the concept of a web diary – essentially, any social media site, like Facebook or Google+. Facebook was founded in 2003, but it took several years for the “Like” button to actually be implemented – either way, van der Meer’s patent predates what Facebook did.

There’s another reason why Tom Melsheimer, one of the attorneys representing Rembrandt Social Media, thinks this case might have legs. In patent applications filed by Facebook since its inception, the van der Meer patents have been referenced, which would mean Facebook has been knowingly using those patents without paying royalties. If anything comes out of this case, that would likely be the main reason.

The suit has been filed in a U.S. District Court in Virginia. Get excited!

Via NY Daily News

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