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Facebook buy $550m patents from Microsoft

23 April 2012

Facebook is buying a portfolio of 650 web technology patents from Microsoft for $550m, as part of an effort to bolster its defence's against a barrage of intellectual property infringement claims.

Microsoft itself bought the patents - part of a billion-dollar package of around 920 - from AOL just 2 weeks ago which covers a range of technologies developed by Netscape, the now defunct browser.

The software giant outbid Facebook at auction, but said it would look to sell on some of the patents.

It has now recouped over half its investment and as part of the deal obtained licence's to use the technologies covered by the patents. Facebook will also get licence's to use the portion of AOL’s patents that Microsoft will keep.

"This is another significant step in our ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect Facebook’s interests over the long term," said Facebook’s general counsel Ted Ullyot.

"We expect the number of patent and other intellectual property claims against us to grow," it added.

Yahoo! claims that Facebook is infringing its intellectual property around advertising, privacy controls, news feeds and messaging services.

The Microsoft patent deal is Facebook’s second big money investment this month. Earlier this month is agreed to acquire Instagram, a mobile app for sharing photos, for $1bn.

In March it bought a further 750 patents from IBM for an undisclosed sum.

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Access Control Systems using Power over Ethernet (PoE) Technology from Borer