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Facebook Buys 750 IBM Patents 46

eldavojohn writes "Considering IBM's portfolio gained 6,180 last year alone, it's not a huge number. But after a dispute with Yahoo a couple weeks ago, Facebook has purchased 750 patents from IBM. That's over thirteen times the 56 they were reportedly holding. The humorous rumor is that Yahoo might have been licensing these patents from IBM. If you can't beat 'em, buy the patents they're licensing from another company. Another rumor is that Facebook might be just getting started in their bid to expand their patent portfolio (video). No word yet whether the purchased patents directly pertain to Yahoo's infringement claims on messaging, privacy controls, advertising, customization and social networking."
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Facebook Buys 750 IBM Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:17PM (#39456415)

    The fact that a single company can get over six thousands patents in a single year is proof enough that it's a bad idea to allow software patents.

    Competition and free market is now impossible because of these stupid patents that should never have been granted in the first place.

  • Patentnopoly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:29PM (#39456515)

    It sounds like the board game "Monopoly" needs an update. Who cares about hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place? Own the most patents, and charge the highest licensing fees, and you win!

    "I have one word of advice for you, son, Patents! Not plastics, Patents!"

  • by mikeytag ( 1835928 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:40PM (#39456613)

    As a developer, it really disheartens me to think that any application I create that becomes popular is likely to be litigated against for patent violations. I've never searched for patents or seen one and thought "AHA! That's how I'll make this algorithm!" No, I just code and create logical solutions to problems that are presented.

    No one should be able to claim ownership of the fact that 2 + 2 = 4 and force others to always use 3 and 1 to do addition for the next 20 years. God forbid, someone patents 3 + 1 = 4!!!

  • House of Cards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by beenThereBefore ( 2602207 ) on Friday March 23, 2012 @06:51PM (#39457181)
    The software patent end of the industry is a house of cards. Currently it only holds up because everyone plays along. In order to sustain the house of cards all the major players have to cross license all of their patent portfolios. No one really even knows which patents they are violating, or being violated at any time.

    You only see small skirmishes play out, like Motorola vs Apple, major ones are always settled. The major players use this cross licensing to try and keep small and medium sized companies from coming into their space. Once you generate enough revenue to put up a good fight, they have to let you in 'the club'. Facebook crossed that threshold. FB will now cross license with all the other players.

    A system initially designed to foster innovation is now a detriment. The mass cross licensing of patents should be considered in anit-trust light. It allows the major players to share ip, while blocking the others and keep their prices artificially high as a result. No different than direct collusion. The system should be unwound.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde