Facebook reportedly buys 750 patents from IBM

Facebook buys hundreds of patents from Big Blue in effort to boost intellectual property amid patent battle with Yahoo, reports say.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Facebook has reportedly bought some 750 patents from IBM to beef up its intellectual property (IP) defense in the wake of a legal tussle with Yahoo, which has sued it for patent infringement.

The purchase was confirmed by a Facebook spokesperson, according to a report on Thursday by news daily The Wall Street Journal.

Newswire Reuters cited an unnamed source who said the patents from IBM covered various technologies including search and semiconductors. The acquisition will bolster Facebook's IP strength, which has 56 issued patents and 503 filed U.S. patent applications, according to the company's recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), added Reuters in its report Thursday.

Yahoo, on the other hand, has over 3,300 patents and published patent applications, according to a U.S. government database, the report added.

In February, Yahoo claimed Facebook was infringing on its patents on technologies including advertising, messaging and privacy controls, and demanded licensing fees, according to Reuters. It later filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook on Mar. 12.

Facebook's patent purchase also comes amid the social networking juggarnaut prepares for its initial public offering (IPO), having filed its intention to go public in February with the SEC.

Incidentally, Facebook's patent maneuver appears to mirror Google's motives in its US$12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which market observers said was primarily aimed at boosting Google's patent portfolio.

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