Tags: Facebook | patent | Van Der Meer | infringement

Facebook Wins Patent-Infringement Trial Over Van Der Meer Site

Friday, 13 Jun 2014 03:32 PM

Facebook Inc., the world’s biggest social network, won a trial in which it was accused of infringing patents for a “Web page diary” invented by a Dutch computer scientist in the 1990s.

The patents are invalid and not infringed, a federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, said today. The suit was filed by Rembrandt Social Media LP, a Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based company that handles licensing and litigation for independent inventors like the late Joannes Van Der Meer, the inventor of the two patents.

Van Der Meer, who died in 2004, developed technology he called Surfbook that enabled people to collect personal information and third-party content on a personalized website, and then share the information with a select group of friends. The suit targeted Facebook’s Timeline, Newsfeed, Groups and Photo Sharing features.

Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, and founded in 2004, contended its features used different technology. It also argued that the patents didn’t cover new ideas, so were invalid.

Facebook also claimed that Van Der Meer’s company, called Aduna, waited an unfairly long time before filing the suit. The suit was filed last year, almost a decade after Van Der Meer’s death and Facebook’s founding.

Even before the verdict, Rembrandt sought a new trial, saying District Judge T.S. Ellis, who was presiding over the trial, asked questions of a witness that “seriously and unfairly prejudiced Rembrandt in front of the jury.”

The trial was delayed by a debate over testimony regarding the amount Rembrandt was seeking against Facebook. Ellis said the expert witness hired by Rembrandt used flawed reasoning in calculating damages, so blocked the testimony. Last month, an appeals court declined to hear a challenge filed by Rembrandt, saying it wasn’t an appropriate issue to appeal before the trial was held.

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Facebook Inc., the world's biggest social network, won a trial in which it was accused of infringing patents for a "Web page diary" invented by a Dutch computer scientist in the 1990s.
Facebook, patent, Van Der Meer, infringement
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2014-32-13
Friday, 13 Jun 2014 03:32 PM
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