Patents for protection
Facebook has acquired 750 patents from IBM in a bid to boost its patent portfolio and protect itself from infringement lawsuits.
Prior to this transaction, Facebook had only 56 US patents, and had applied for another 503. It also had 33 equivalent patents in foreign countries, with another 159 applications pending. During 2011, Facebook dealt with 22 different suits, with some having to be settled with payments.
The new package of IBM patents could help Facebook protect itself from such a high number of lawsuits in future years. There is a wide range of technology rights covered within the IBM patents including internet search, chips, networking and software.
Defence against Yahoo
The 750 IBM patent purchase is set to help Facebook in its upcoming patent infringement lawsuit against Yahoo. Earlier this month, Yahoo sued Facebook, suggesting that it came up with and patented the social network model. The Yahoo lawsuit stated that "Facebook's entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo's patented social networking technology."
The recent IBM purchase could help to counteract such claims. The newness of the company along with its small collection of patents have made the social media network vulnerable to lawsuits over the past year.
Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword, said: "While Facebook has the ability to protect itself by adding to its patent portfolio, smaller companies may be in jeopardy if Yahoo decides to launch lawsuits based on their wide-ranging patents."