In preparation for the lawsuit filed against them by Yahoo! Inc., Facebook bought 750 patents from International Business Machines Corp. The freshly acquired patents will cover a broad range of technology, ranging from search to semiconductors.
The terms of the patent acquisition were undisclosed. Representatives from both Facebook and IBM have yet to comment on the matter.
“This is a very big deal,” said Erin- Michael Gill, chief intellectual property officer at MDB, an investment bank focused on intellectual property. While it’s not clear how strong the patents are, “Facebook is now where it’s supposed to be.”
Facebook currently has 56 issued patents and 503 applications as of December 31, 2011. Bulking up on their patents will not only help them fend off the Yahoo! lawsuit, but also dodge future patent trolls.
Earlier this month, Yahoo! filed a case against Facebook alleging the social networking giant of infringing on 10-20 of their patents in advertising, the personalization of web sites, social networking and messaging.
“We’re disappointed that Yahoo, a long-time business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation,” Facebook said in a statement.
Facebook’s Updated RSS Omits “Privacy”
Aside from their Yahoo! dilemma, Facebook is facing scrutiny with their updated Statement of Rights and Responsibilities – an important document that describes their relationship with users and others who interact with Facebook. The biggest deal regarding the update is the omission of the word “privacy” in their policy. People are now getting concerned that Facebook is out to expose and exploit their users.
Facebook claimed that the changes are administrative and users had until March 22nd to send feedback regarding the changes that will take place. Many users were quick to antagonize Facebook’s proposed changes, most commented with just one line: “I reject the changes.” You’d think Facebook would listen to users since they gave an open-invitation for subscribers to send their feedback, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. They just wanted to know what people thought about the change, but they still pushed forward with their plan yesterday.