Facebook Sued Over the 'Like' Button

Author: Adi Gaskell
Published: February 12, 2013 at 7:36 am

facebook like buttonLiking something has entered the popular lexicon, and is irrevocably linked with Facebook.  A company acting on behalf of a deceased Dutch programmer believe however that they hold the rights to liking something online.

They are suing Facebook over their use of the like button, along with various other features used on the social network. 

The company, called Rembrandt Social Media, are representing a Mr Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer, a Dutch computer programmer.

They believe that Facebook owe much of their success to a technology that is fundamentally based upon technology that Mr Van Der Meer has patented.

A lawsuit has been filed in a federal court in Virginia by Rembrandt Social Media.

"We believe Rembrandt's patents represent an important foundation of social media as we know it, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence," said lawyer Tom Melsheimer from legal firm Fish and Richardson, which represents the patent holder.

Mr Van Der Meer utilized his technology whilst building his own social network, called Surfbook, before his death in 2004.  The patents that Facebook are allegedly infringing upon were granted in 1998, some five years before Facebook was born.

Surfbook was a social diary that let people share information with friends and family and approve some data using a "like" button, according to legal papers filed by Fish and Richardson.

The papers also say Facebook is aware of the patents as it has cited them in its own applications to patent some social networking technologies.


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Article Author: Adi Gaskell

A writer on management issues for publications such as Professional Manager, CMI, HRM Today, Business Works and Technorati. I also cover social media for Social Media Today, DZone and Social Business News.

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