Facebook Is Being Sued By A Dead Man

Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer is suing Facebook over its 'Like' button. Companies get sued all the time! Why do we care? Well, aside from having an A+ name, van Der Meer is actually...dead. He passed away in 2004, just as Facebook was beginning to take over the world. Why is he suing now?

Van Der Meer was the founder of Surfbook, a social diary-type service where people could share stuff with friends and like things with a 'like' button. If that sounds a heckuva lot like some other site with book in its name, well, you know why lawsuits are being tossed around. The lawsuit claims that Facebook "bears a remarkable resemblance, both in terms of its functionality and technical implementation, to the personal web page diary that Van Der Meer had invented years earlier."

Van Der Meer was awarded patents in 1998 for Surfbook, patents that presumably include the Like button. But Van Der Meer is dead so why does he care about lawsuits?

Well, Rembrandt Social Media, a patent-holding company, is the one that'll be doing the suing but Van Der Meer's widow and his colleagues will testify in the trial about the importance of his invention. Some times, people want credit for their work. And other times, patent holding companies want money for those people's work. Even when they're dead. [Ars Technica, BBC, CNET]


Comments

    Patently ridiculous.

      It is critically important cases like this occur. If the death of the inventor is sufficient to make their patent unenforceable, then why would any company licence something like this? A licence may cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. By comparison, a thug to bash someone's head in is a bargain.

        I'm not sure about this, I mean, would it not have been easier to kill Steve Jobs then when Apple started to recover?

        Im not too concerned that people will start being "wacked" for patents

        Granting patents for trivial elements of web design, and then letting companies trade in those patents and sue others for using them, is what is ridiculous.

        What if the TV channels had patented first use of ''a subtitle consisting of text below a video picture'', or a weather map behind a weather presenter, or an ''opening title sequence set to music''?

        Last edited 18/02/13 8:28 pm

    if the patents were awarded in 1998, and facebook launched in 2004, why the fuck are they suing 9 years later? that's ridiculous. I would understand if they had never heard of facebook, but that isn't possible.

      yeh this is very submarine to me, saying its all about credit when its really about the money

      too bad for them they shouldve sued before they went public hahaha

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