Facebook is being sued by a Dutch widow who alleges her husband, who died in 2004, was the inventor of the social media site's "like" button, and that the technology was used without permission.
The plaintiff, the unnamed widow of Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer, is represented by the patent-holding company, Rembrandt Social Media, United Press International reports. The suit's been fled in U.S. District Court in Virginia.
The specific claims are that Facebook used two of Mr. Van Der Meer's patents without first obtaining permission, UPI reports. Mr. Van Der Meer reportedly held the patents as far back as 1998 — fully five years before Facebook was created, UPI reported. He used the patents for his own social network site, Surfbook, that allowed users to share information with others and give a thumbs-up for certain postings via a "like" button, according to the report.
"We believe Rembrandt's patents represent an important foundation of social media as we know it, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence," said attorney Tom Melsheimer, in the UPI report.
Facebook has yet to respond, UPI said.
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