Facebook scoops up 750 patents from IBM

Facebook is beefing up its patent bank

Facebook has just been on an intellectual property shopping spree, paying IBM for 750 of its patents.

The big stack of patents covers various "software and networking" technologies and is reported to have cost the social network hundreds of millions of dollars.

The 750 new patents will be added to Facebook's current haul of fewer than 60 US patents. This is still a relatively small number in the world of tech – last year Google popped strolled down the aisles at IBM and came back with its trolley laden with over 2,000 patents. A sizeable sweep of which the perma-tanned Dale Winton would no doubt approve.

Facebook's lack of patents could be seen as a point of weakness, leaving the company unable to defend itself against claims from other companies. A company the size of Facebook has plenty to lose.

Defense against Yahoo

In fact the purchase of IBM's patents comes just a week after Yahoo started legal proceedings against Facebook, claiming that: "Facebook's entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo's patented social networking technology."

In total, Yahoo is claiming infringement of ten of its patents involving web advertising and user interaction.

Whether Facebook has found anything to counter Yahoo in these new patents, or is just covering its back in other areas remains to be seen, but we'll let you know the latest as the fur starts to fly.