Facebook Sued for Stealing 'Like' Button

Facebook Sued for Allegedly Stealing ‘Like’ Button

Allegations of stealing others’ work has reared it’s ugly head again at the world’s most popular social networking site. Facebook is being sued for co-opting the “like” button and other features from another computer programmer without permission, the BBC reports.

Acting on behalf of deceased Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer and his widow, a patent-holding company called Rembrandt Social Media says in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Virginia that “Facebook’s success is based in part on the use of two of Mr. Van Der Meer’s patents without permission.”

Van Der Meer, who died in 2004, was instrumental in building a  social network called Surfbook and obtained the patents in 1998, five years before Facebook came on the scene.

According to legal papers filed, Surfbook was “a social diary allowing users to share information with friends and family and to approve posts using a “like” button.”

The papers also say Facebook knew about Der Meer’s patents as it has cited them in its own patent applications. Another social media company, Add This is being sued as well.