Search This Blog

Monday, April 23, 2012

Facebook's patent spree:

When a company with nearly limitless resources shows itself ready to spend whatever is necessary to beef up its intellectual property portfolio, patent challengers have added incentive to seek out easier fights elsewhere.
So it is that Facebook is again putting its very deep pockets to work, adding a new clutch of patents from Microsoft to an earlier trove it acquired from IBM. The message to Yahoo and beyond is clear: Do you want to get into a spending war with a company whose deep pockets are about to get a lot deeper? In other words, there's a lot more where that came from.
All this marks a rapid turnaround for Facebook. The announcement earlier today that Facebook would spend $550 million to buy patents held by Microsoft was the second big patent purchase by the social networking company in as many months.
At the end of 2011, Facebook had only 56 U.S. patents. But it received the proverbial wake-up call when Yahoo sued the company, claiming that Facebook infringed upon several of its patents. Rejecting the allegations,Facebook has since countersued.
Then in March, Facebook acquired about 750 patents held by IBM, covering software and networking, for an undisclosed sum. And now this agreement to purchase a portion of the patent portfolio Microsoft recently agreed to acquire from AOL. As of today, the company is estimated to have 775 granted U.S. patents and approximately 100 pending U.S. applications, according to Erin-Michael Gill, a managing director and chief intellectual property officer at MDB Capital Group.