Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger to a lawsuit. This time, Rembrandt Social Media is claiming that Facebook’s use of a “Like” button infringes upon a patent created in 1998 by a currently deceased Dutch programmer. The brain behind social media giant Facebook, has time and time again had to defend his creation from a multitude of people who would like their piece of the pie. The new suit, filed in a Virginia court on behalf Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer, revolves around a failed social media network known as Surfbook, which involved the idea of pressing a “like” button to show approval. The like button is a central idea powering Facebook that allows users to interact with a simple click instead of actually commenting on a post or picture.
According to documents filed 5 years before Facebook’s creation, Mr. Van Der Meer had indeed been approved for patents regarding the “like” idea. His widow is seeking monetary damages after Mr. Van Der Meer’s somewhat mysterious death in 2004. Facebook is reportedly already aware of the intellectual property claims as they acknowledged this specific patent around the time of their creation. Rembrandt has hired the Intellectual Property, Litigation, and Technology firm Fish & Richardson as representation. Facebook can’t seem to stay away from legal trouble, though most believe there is a very small chance this case actually gets to a courtroom.
The difference between this case and most that don’t go before a judge is that this one seems to have merit. If Facebook has already been documented as knowing of the patent, I have a feeling their lawyers will be ready to sign a paycheck. This is the nature of the beast. I imagine the legal team representing Facebook has already litigated a few cases similar to this one, so it may be as simple as just going through the motions. Either way the “Like” button is really one of the most popular aspects of Facebook, so kudos to the late Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer.