Facebook Purchase IBM Patents, Up To 750 Rumoured

Facebook appear to be attempting to cover their bases in terms of patents in the wake of legal action taken by Yahoo earlier this month.

The social network has confirmed that they have bought a number of IBM’s intellectual property rights, but would not say how many. Bloomberg have reported that as many as 750 patents involving software, networking and other technologies were purchased. It had been said previously that Facebook only owned 56 secured patents.

Yahoo claimed earlier this month that Facebook’s “entire social network model” was based on its technology, and that legal battle continues. Some analysts say that Yahoo may be trying to replicate what it did in 2004 when it was issued shares by Google in the search giant’s floatation as a means of settling a patent lawsuit.

This rumoured acquisition could prove to be crucial in the Yahoo vs. Facebook lawsuit, as The Verge have reported that at least some of the patents purchased might have been licensed to Yahoo by IBM.

Ilya Kazi, from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Patent Attourneys said, “If Facebook has bought patents that IBM had already licensed to Yahoo it could tilt things in their favour… It would certainly strengthen Facebook’s negotiating hand. Depending on the sale terms they could terminate the licenses which could put Yahoo in a difficult position.”

What do you think about this? Will this patent acquisition leave Yahoo up the creek without a paddle? If you have any legal expertise or just simply an opinion on this matter, please feel free to make your voice heard by leaving a comment.