Sunday, September 04, 2011

Facebook and Patents

ZDNet's Emil Protalinski reporting on Facebooks' small patent portfolio and the patent challenges Facebook and other web-service companies could face. One would think that Google should hold a number of data center patents, but I'm not sure that's the case.

VMware CEO: Facebook will also have to fight a patent war soon:

Relatively new Web companies such as Facebook don’t hold many patents and could soon face data-center-related legal battles. VMware CEO Paul Maritz, who has witnessed a number of patent skirmishes in the 1990s when he was at Microsoft, believes that many patent confrontations are coming, and Facebook may find itself in the midst.

Quickly-growing services like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, LinkedIn, and Groupon have so far avoided becoming casualties in the ongoing patent wars, which have centered on mobile devices, but the honeymoon may not last. “When the continents shift and new players come into a space, it results in an unstable situation,” Maritz told Business Week. “If you want to be a permanent fixture of the landscape, you better get some defense.”

Social media websites have weak patent portfolios: Facebook has only 12 patents to its name, while the totals for the other guys range from zero to two each, according to filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

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