Facebook is being sued on behalf of a deceased Dutch programmer named Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer over the social networking site’s most iconic feature, the “like” button, according to the BBC.
Rembrandt Social Media filed the lawsuit on the grounds that Facebook used two of Van Der Meer’s patents without permission, one of which includes the ‘like’ button.
As the current owners of Van der Meer’s patents, Rembrandt Social Media filed the lawsuit against Facebook in a federal court in Virginia. Van der Meer’s patents were used in the creation of his own social media site known as Surfbook and was granted the disputed patents in 1998, five years before Facebook launched.
And according to documents filed by Fish and Richardson, the legal representation for Rembrandt Social Media, Facebook knew of Van der Meer’s patents as it cited them in their own applications for social media technology patents.
But being the defendant in a patent lawsuit is not a novel experience for Facebook. According to Ars Technica, 20 lawsuits involving patent infringement were filed against the social media giant just last year.