Facebook purchases 750 patents from IBM, doubles portfolio

By Lee Kaelin on March 23, 2012, 9:00 AM

Social networking giant Facebook has moved to increase its patent portfolio by purchasing 750 patents from IBM Corporation for an undisclosed figure, which is thought to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars according to Bloomberg.

The purchase, which has not officially been made public, covers various technologies such as software and networking according to an unnamed source familiar with the situation. It will more than double their current patent portfolio, which currently has at least 56 issued patents as well as 503 patent applications filed with the US Patent Office.

It is not clear if the patent acquisitions were in response to a lawsuit filed by Yahoo last week, which claims Facebook is infringing on ten of its patents covering privacy controls, social networking and advertising, among others.

Companies are increasingly turning to patent purchases as a defensive countermeasure in a bid to fend off lawsuits in an industry that is becoming rife with infringement claims. Google for example, has been using this same tactic as their Android mobile OS comes under increasing fire from several companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Oracle. Google is also a regular shopper of patents from IBM, last purchasing 217 from them in January.

In their recent IPO filing, the company commented that they expect intellectual property claims will likely increase as they expand and increase their exposure into areas they do not currently compete in.

With its IPO offering due in May, the lawsuit from Yahoo comes at a critical time for the firm, and will likely end in a settlement or licensing deal ahead of its public offering. The purchase of more patents is also thought to be a move to reassure potential investors that the networking giant has the resources to defend against future claims of intellectual property infringements.

A company spokesperson for Facebook has confirmed the purchase, but declined to provide any further details. IBM Corporation did not respond to requests for further information.




User Comments: 8

Got something to say? Post a comment
treetops treetops said:

Think if for one year everyone worked together for science, no wars, no competition. We would probably leap ahead 20+ years.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

treetops said:

Think if for one year everyone worked together for science, no wars, no competition. We would probably leap ahead 20+ years.

Except many technological advancements are a result of wars. Although, I would gladly give up wars.

Also, 4th paragraph, I think the word is "rife" instead of "strife.".

Lurker101 said:

Brace for over 600 different patent trolling lawsuits within the next 18 months.

Guest said:

Patents; the next arms race.

ikesmasher said:

lol...yahoo patent trolling.

Yahoo needs to get their sh** together.

Facebook needs to stop doing everything wrong.

treetops treetops said:

Except many technological advancements are a result of wars. Although, I would gladly give up wars.

Also, 4th paragraph, I think the word is "rife" instead of "strife.".

True

TJGeezer said:

Resorting to lawsuits instead of competing in the market used to be taken as a sign that a company was close to failing. SCO trying to claim all the work others did on Linux comes to mind. I guess Yahoo fits that stereotype too. But now the big corporations seem to do that, whether or not they're close to failure. Are they imitating Apple? Maybe just trying to keep multiple cubelands of lawyers busy? Lawyers themselves trying to justify their salaries? Maybe just execs exercising typical corporate greed in search of side money? I don't get this business of big corporations trolling like that.

Congress sure did a great job of rationalizing the patent system. Now it makes just about as much public policy sense as their stupid drug war, or declaring the U.S. an active battlefield. I wonder - if they "fix" patent law again, can they make it even more chaotic?

Leeky Leeky said:

Also, 4th paragraph, I think the word is "rife" instead of "strife.".

Corrected. Thank you, and my apologies for the error.

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