Apparently, the much used button on Facebook is actually patented for another website.
And now that the person who patented it, Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer has already died, Facebook may be looking at a suit, reports Sydney Morning Herald.
The patent on the Like button is actually part of Surfbook, which Van Der Meer created back in 1998, five years before Facebook ever got to the public eye.
According to The Washington Times, van Der Meer's widow is now backed by the patent holder, Rembrandt Social Media. They are accusing Facebook of using the patent without obtaining permission.
"Although Mark Zuckerberg did not start what became Facebook until 2003, it bears a remarkable resemblance, both in terms of its functionality and technical implementation, to the personal web page diary that Van Der Meer had invented years earlier," the lawsuit states, as reported by PC World.
The Like button, used
For some Facebook users, the Like button is freely used to show the world the things that you, well, like. But most importantly, the Like button serves as the extension to friends and family.
The Facebook Like button has also been used by companies looking to boost their social media presence. SocialFresh reports that the Facebook Like Button is a great opportunity to expose your company and products to a bigger market, considering the extent of reach that Facebook is still enjoying.
Remembering, clicking Like on your company's profile page means more than just being recognized as part of the user's interests. The page becomes shared to the news feeds of that user's friends, and any updates from your end can stream into their news feed.
Now imagine several thousands of people Liking your page. The growth of awareness can be exponential.
Admittedly, there are other ways by which one can expand the reach of a brand while using Facebook.
As Soshable reports, an effective tool to tap would be superfans, which define users who frequently post, share, and answer related posts regarding the brand. In fact, in terms of numbers, a single superfan can be equated to 75 fans, especially if they are active in a wider circle aside fromFacebook.
There are no reports yet of what will happen to the lawsuit, and if anything will change in the FB Like landscape.
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