Facebook is currently being sued over the “Like” button, in addition to several other features on the social network. The Dutch company Rembrandt Social Media has filed a lawsuit claiming it owned patents that were developed by the late Dutch programmer Johannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer.
According to Rembrandt Social Media, “Facebook’s success is due in part to it wrongfully using two of Van Der Meer’s patents.” Facebook hasn’t released any statements regarding the lawsuit, which is waiting to go on trial in the federal court of Virginia.
Tom Melsheimer, attorney from the legal firm Fish and Richardson, told the BBC that his client believes that Rembrandt Social Media’s patents represent an important part of social networking as we know it today, and that they expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence they are presenting.
The Dutch programmer Johannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer was once working on a social network called Surfbook before his death in 2004. In 1998, five years before Facebook appeared, Surfbook was a type of social diary that was designed for sharing information with friends and family, in which a “Like” button was used as a way for contacts to approve or show they like a post, according to the legal documents presented by Fish and Richardson.
The documents presented in the lawsuit are also proof in themselves that Facebook was aware that the patents existed, because it cites them in its own patents of certain social network technology and applications.