Facebook is being sued over patents for its ‘Like’ button

11 Feb 2013

Social networking giant Facebook is being sued by Rembrant IP Management for allegedly infringing patents related to its ‘Like’ button, its status update system and other such features that Rembrandt claimed were originally invented by a deceased Dutch inventor.

A lawsuit has been filed in the US State of Virginia by Rembrandt against Facebook and another company called AddThis.

Rembrandt is suing the two companies for infringing patents that involve a ‘Method and Apparatus for Implementing a Web Page Diary,’ (US Patent 6,415,316) and a ‘System and Method for Generating, Transferring and Using an Annotated Universal Address’ (US Patent 6,289,362).

Rembrandt claims the patents and ideas were invented by late inventor Joss van der Meer in his company Aduna.

Van der Meer’s family, after his passing, partnered with Rembrandt IP to enforce the patents.

“Years before Facebook and AddThis, Jos van der Meer conceived of and patented core aspects of social media,” said Dr Paul Schneck, chairman of Rembrandt.

“The United States patent system is designed to give inventors an exclusive right to practice their inventions.

“Facebook and AddThis are using the ideas disclosed in Joss’ patents without permission or payment. Through this litigation, Rembrandt Social Media hopes to recover payment for the unauthorised usage of patents by Facebook and AddThis.”

It is understood that van der Meer was granted patent approval for the patents in 1998, five years before Facebook came along. It is understood that Facebook referred to van der Meer’s patents in its own patents applications for its social media technologies.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years