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Zuckerberg Gets Hold Of Another 18 Social Media Patents

Mark Zuckerberg has quickly risen to become one of the most well known, influential names in social networking. But the Facebook CEO has taken one more step, or rather 18 more, to becoming even more powerful in the social media industry, after purchasing 18 important social networking patents from the former innovator Friendster.

Mark Zuckerburg

The patents, which appear to have been trasferred to Facebook earlier last month, include seven which have already been accepted and another 11 which are still pending, although given that Zuckerburg parted with a rumoured $55 million dollars to get hold of them, we'd assume those 11 are a pretty sound bet to be accepted.

The patents currently include:

  • A system and method for managing an online social network
  • A system, method and apparatus for connecting users in an online computer system based on their relationships within social networks
  • Feeding updates to landing pages of social network users via an external source

Now just read those three again, because to my mind that sounds like the basics of all social media platforms (particularly the first two). Given the weight and value of this intellectual property portfolio, which is now in Facebook's hands, I'm a little surprised other large companies (Google springs to mind) weren't tempted to engage the 26 year old in a bidding war. Instead, Zuckerberg seems to have been allowed to quietly purchase the portfolio, giving him a phenomenal platform against competition and basically handing him intellectural copyright over the basic functions and operations of social media.

Facebook aren't pretending they know nothing about the deal either, with spokeswoman Jaime Schopflin confirming the acquisition of the patent portfolio earlier this week.

Social media patents have always been a point of conflict and debate between the different companies, as they all attempt to protect what they see as their intellectual copyrights and defend themselves against potential court-action in the future. Friendster, Facebook, LinkedIn and Zynga have all been involved in complicated patent filings and purchases in the last couple of years, with LinkedIn recently being granted a patent covering the 'confirmation of relationships' on social media sites.

There's no doubt in my mind that Zuckerberg and Facebook will continue to buy up social media patents at every available opportunity, solidifying their current position as the World's most popular social networking site and attempting to increase the barriers faced by potential competition. It will be extremely interesting to watch how the company utilised its' patent portfolio, although I would image they're far more likely to use them to strenthen their position through innovation, rather than using them directly against competitors.

I wouldn't be surprised if this purchase was a little in response to Google's many acquisitions over the last few weeks, as they attempt to build an infrastructure for their own social media platform, rumoured to be coming later this year.

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/deneyterrio/2321206299/sizes/m/in/photostream/



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