Facebook buys 750 IBM patents to defend itself from lawsuits

23 Mar 2012

Facebook has reportedly acquired 750 patents from IBM to boost its intellectual property portfolio to help it defend itself from patent lawsuits. The social network was recently sued by Yahoo! over patents regarding its news feed and advertising methods.

Bloomberg reports Facebook may have paid ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ for the patents, which cover technologies regarding software and networking. It would add to Facebook’s current patent portfolio, made up of at least 56 issued patents and 503 filed US patent applications. It also has 33 corresponding patents and 149 filed applications in other countries at the end of 2011.

Facebook has already acquired patents from other companies, such as early social networking site Friendster and HP.

Facebook’s current acquisitions will be hugely important, as the company is preparing to go public in May and hopes to raise US$5bn in the process. Facebook expects more patent lawsuits in the future, according to its IPO filing in February, as it aims to release new products which could expose it to more legal action.

One month later, Yahoo! sued Facebook over 10 patents which include Facebook’s news feed and advertising methods.