Facebook Sued over Like Button Patent Filed by Dead Dutch Developer

Facebook is used to patent trolls, though any lawsuit like this ends up costing it money

By on February 12th, 2013 15:32 GMT

Ridiculous lawsuits come with the territory when you're a big company and there's no denying that Facebook fits that definition. One recent lawsuit filed by a Dutch company in the US over the Like button certainly meets the ridiculous criteria.

"Ridiculous" by common sense standards, not by patent lawsuit standards, lawyers operate under a different logic than the rest of the world.

The lawsuit in question is based on two patents awarded to Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus Van Der Meer, who died the year Facebook was founded, 2004.

Before dying though, he managed to get quite a few software patents, one for something that could describe blogs, your Twitter feed, the Facebook Timeline and plenty of other websites, and one which, with a bit of imagination, something lawyers have in spades, for something that can sound somewhat similar to a Like button.

The patent describes a "system and method for generating, transferring and using annotated universal addresses which can be presented by multimedia presentation tools including web browsers."

The similarity to what the like button does is uncanny. Of course, that could also be said for bookmarks, social bookmarking sites like Delicious, even places like Reddit or Digg. Google generates a snippet of text alongside links in results, Twitter does as well.

The web "pioneer" who came up with all of this a decade and a half ago didn't actually do anything with his inventions, in fact, he seemed more than happy just to patent his ideas and call it a day.

Luckily, one successful patent troll patent-holding company managed to get ahold of those patents and will fight to do justice to the Van Der Meer name. Getting a few Facebook millions in the process wouldn't be so bad either. Facebook hasn't said anything about the lawsuit.

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Shockingly, it turns out the Like button was invented before Facebook was ever created
   Shockingly, it turns out the Like button was invented before Facebook was ever created