Facebook grabs 750 patents from IBM to shield itself from Yahoo

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Updated at 2:46 p.m. PT with Facebook’s comment.

Facebook has purchased 750 patents from IBM to help it battle Yahoo’s recent patent-troll lawsuit.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat that there was “a purchase” but declined to give any further details.

Yahoo filed suit against Facebook on March 12 over alleged ongoing patent infringement. Yahoo claims Facebook is infringing on four advertising patents, two privacy patents, two customization patents, one social networking patent, and one messaging patent.

Facebook said it was “disappointed” with Yahoo and that it will defend itself “vigorously against these puzzling actions.”

In these types of lawsuits, the traditional course of action is to mount a defense with your own set of patents. With ownership over a strong set of patents, you may be able to convince the suing company to settle or cross-licence patents.

Facebook battled 22 patent suits against it last year. Facebook’s buying 750 patents from IBM, which controls a decades-old patent warchest, could be a sign that it is actually concerned about Yahoo’s claims.

On the other hands, it could simply be a sign that the still-young but soon-to-go-public social media company is beginning to take its patent situation seriously as the lawsuits pile up. Facebook has only 56 patents, with 503 filed and pending.

hat tip: Bloomberg.

Illustration: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat

Original Knight’s shield: FXQuadro/Shutterstock


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