Did Facebook poach its iconic “like” button? That’s the heart of a case being brought to court on behalf of deceased Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus Van Der Meer.
The key argument is a simple matter of timeline. (No pun intended.) Six years before his death in 2004, Van Der Meer patented the “like” button for his budding social diary, Surfbook. Facebook, however, didn’t exist in 1998. Its early beginnings go back to 2003, when Mark Zuckerberg’s Facemash launched on Harvard campus and evolved into Facebook in 2004. And so logically, the case alleges the company couldn’t have originated the social voting/approval mechanism, yet it has never paid anything to Van Der Meer, his estate or subsequent patent holders.
This may not come as any surprise to people familiar with Zuckerberg’s past antics. (And who isn’t, thanks to the The Social Network?) In creating Facemash, Zuckerberg infamously hacked into Harvard’s network and copied over dorm ID pics to populate his new “Hot or Not”–like polls. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean Facebook infringed on this patent — it would be a baffling oversight on the current corporation’s part — but it could still be historically significant in the lawsuit, since it goes back to roughly the same timeline.
But is it much ado about nothing? It’s just a button, after all. Well that may be so, but it strikes at the core of the Zuckerberg enterprise. Facebook “likes” have been credited as a key factor in the social giant’s success. That little button drives huge traffic, acts as a springboard for partnerships and third-party corporate initiatives, and has become inextricably tied into the company’s branding and identity. It has even taken on a life of its own, appearing on T-shirts, bumper stickers and innumerable satirical works on- and offline.
Rembrandt Social Media — which now owns this and other Surfbook-related patents — filed the suit in a federal court in Virginia. Facebook had no comment on this pending litigation, however, legal documents filed contend that it was aware of the patents. That seems like a no-brainer: Apparently Facebook cited them in its own patent applications for social networking technologies.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra's Space Zoom camera is amazing and a bit creepy
The Galaxy S20 Ultra supports up to 100X zoom, which Samsung calls Space Zoom, but is it any good? Can a phone really product usable photos at 100x zoom? We've got our Galaxy S20 Ultra already so join us to find out!
Win an iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch with the Reader's Choice giveaway!
What's the best phone of 2019? Is it the iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4 or OnePlus 7T? What about the best laptop, games console, tablet and more? Vote NOW in the Reader's Choice awards and win BIG in time for the holidays!
Here are the best products from IFA 2019!
Here are the products announced at IFA 2019 that were worthy of our Best of IFA 2019 awards. Also featuring MrMobile's single best product at the show!
Get your doodle on with a high-tech drawing tablet
Aching to incorporate freehand lines into your digital creations? Sounds like you need a drawing tablet! We've put together the best models for your perusing pleasure.