Facebook and AddThis, the social sharing platform company, are named as defendants in a lawsuit that claims two violations of patent infringement law.
Rembrandt Social Media, a patent-holding company, filed the suit last week in Virginia, saying that Facebook infringed on two of its patents and AddThis on one.
As Ars Technica reported, Rembrandt is working with the family of Joannes Jozef Everardus Van Der Meer, a Dutch programmer described in the lawsuit as “a pioneer in the development of user-friendly Web-based technologies,” who died in 2004.
Van Der Meer, who once owned the surfbook.com domain, was granted two patents — “Method and Apparatus for Implementing a Web Page Diary” and “System and Method for Generation, Transferring, and Using an Annotated Universal Address” — more than 10 years ago. Facebook is accused of violating both patents, while AddThis is accused of violating the latter.
According to the lawsuit, the second patent allowed “users to collect interesting content as they browsed the Web, simply by clicking on buttons on the websites that they visited” — that, the lawsuit is saying, is what Facebook’s “like” button does. The suit says Facebook “bears a remarkable resemblance, both in terms of its functionality and technical implementation, to the personal webpage diary that Van Der Meer had invented years earlier.”
Facebook declined to comment when the BBC asked about the lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified financial royalties from Facebook and AddThis. Rembrandt’s attorneys issued this news release about the lawsuit last week.