Facebook sued over "like" button by a dead man... sort of

Facebook's "like" button is perhaps the most iconic of all of the company's features. It first appeared on Facebook's website in 2010 and has since been adapted for its mobile apps as a way for its users to quickly connect with each other. Now a company has filed a lawsuit against the social networking company, claiming it holds two patents on the "like" button that it claims were originally created by a Dutch programmer who has since passed away.

The BBC reports that the programmer, Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer, created technology for a old social diary service called Surfboard. The patent holding service, Rembrandt Social Media, claims that Van Der Meer was awarded two patents for his work on the service in 1998, several years before the launch of Facebook. Van Der Meer himself died in 2004.

Rembrandt Social Media claims that Surfboard contained its own "like" button that was made for sharing information with family and friends, along with the approval of data. Rembrandt also claims that Facebook knew about Van Der Meer's patents because they made references to them in Facebook's own patent applications.

The company's lawyer Tom Melsheimer said, "We believe Rembrandt's patents represent an important foundation of social media as we know it, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence." Facebook has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

Source: BBC | Image via Facebook

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11 Comments

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"Rembrandt also claims that Facebook knew about Van Der Meer's patents because they **made references** to them in Facebook's own patent applications."

why do they put those references?,

How can you hold a patent for such a trivial UI element?

One day i'll be impossible to create anything without getting sued.

LaP said,
How can you hold a patent for such a trivial UI element?

One day i'll be impossible to create anything without getting sued.

It's like that now.

LaP said,
How can you hold a patent for such a trivial UI element?

One day i'll be impossible to create anything without getting sued.

Makes inventing annoying. I keep coming up with ideas, and when I start looking at patents to make sure its original, I find stupid un-used patents that cover portions of what I want to do that make it overly complex to design around to the point of bad design. Very frustrating. So, I'll just keep at my day job for now.

I agree, I think they need to change the 'patent timelife' to factors based on things like: whether it was actually used in the past 5 years, and if not, allow the patent to be utilized by someone that can 'improve' on it, not simply "oh I thought of that exact idea years ago, now time for me to use it"...

But im sure thats too simple anyway....patents can be good, and they can be terribly bad [to the economy]. A double-edge sword unfortunately.

It's funny what people click the like button on.

This one girl made a post on facebook about someone stealing $700 from her. 1 person clicked the like button. My comment was..

"We have our first suspect." ________ She clicked the like button!

warwagon said,
It's funny what people click the like button on.

This one girl made a post on facebook about someone stealing $700 from her. 1 person clicked the like button. My comment was..

"We have our first suspect." ________ She clicked the like button!


Worse if when people post about deaths and people liking it....