Dutch family aim to sue Facebook for patent infringements

The family of a Dutch software engineer are attempting to take legal action against Facebook for infringing two patents, including a system very similar to Facebook’s ‘like’ and ‘share’ functions, the NRC reports.

Jos van der Meer, who died in 2004 at the age of 44, is described in the legal documents as a pioneer in terms of developing user-friendly internet technology, the NRC said.

In 1998 Van der Meer applied for two patents which, his family claim, paved the way for the development of social media networks. One patent was awarded in 2001, the other in 2002.

The family have now instructed US patent bureau Rembrandt IP to start legal action against Facebook. It is not clear how much money they are claiming.

Web diary

One of the two patents refers to a ‘method for implementing a web diary’ which, according to the complaint, allows users to organise information in chronological order and share it with others.

The second is based on a system for categorising interests which would allow the user to click on interesting web pages and add them to their web diary. This, the family claims, is similar to the ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons developed by Facebook.

Van der Meer also registered the web domain surfbook.com in 2004, the paper says.

The case is set to be heard in a few weeks. Facebook has decline to comment, the NRC said.

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