Court ‘Likes’ Van Der Meer, Calls FB to Face Jury

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For an entire year, when people were busy sharing, befriending and glorifying their emotions on Facebook, the social media company was busy trying to keep a patent lawsuit at bay. An earlier iRunway blog wondered the “Like” button on Facebook was in peril. But now, it’s clear that it’s not just the “Like” button, but the “Share” and other features like quick website updates that are also being challenged by a Dutch computer geek posthumously.

The social media giant is said to have argued its points and tried its best to keep Dutch computer whiz Van Der Meer’s patents from surfacing in front of a jury for a year now. However, the courts decided to unlike Facebook’s attempts and instead haul it onto understand how it replicates Van Der Meer’s Surfbook platform.

To give you a brief, Ven Der Meer had filed patents in 1998 on methods to run a web-based personal diary. This diary would allow users to share, comment and like posts in their friends’ diaries, besides adjusting privacy settings. These patents were issued in 2001 and 2002, while Facebook entered the World Wide Web in 2003. Van Der Meer’s Surfbook never took off as he died in 2004 – a time when Facebook started becoming a rage. However, Van Der Meer’s family decided to get him justice posthumously and joined hands with a holding company, Rembrandt Social Media, to do what they felt right. So now that Facebook has to face the jury in an Alexandria District Court, what can it argue to prove its stance?

For one, Facebook can depend on the law of “hindsight bias”. This is an aspect of creeping determinism to show that a website such as Facebook would have eventually occurred in the social media world considering social media trends prior to 2003. This would help Facebook prove that Van Der Meer’s ideas were not unique and such a social media website was eventually to make headway. Another aspect that could tilt the balance in Facebook’s favor is a pre-trial ruling that would hold back Rembrandt from testifying its potential damages.

Well, with a non-existing social media idea fighting out the social media giant of today, this case seems as interesting as the FIFA world cup!

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