Facebook is in trouble again. This time it’s the family of the creator of Surfbook that sues Facebook, but ironically it’s not even for the likeness in name or concept, but for the “Like”.
As depicted in the preceding video, in 2011, Facebook began seeing its “Like” button functionality attacked. California users filed a class action law suit claiming they were being “economically injured” by Facebook’s use of the “Like” feature for advertising purposes. In short, Facebook had begun the practice of promoting ads that your Friends “Like”. The now infamous high-tech community Judge Lucy Koh, who oversees much of the Northern California tech problems (such as those between Samsung and Apple) presided over the initial hearings and would not dismiss the claims. She also warned Facebook that their “Like” button could lead to more problems for them as the use of it is actually illegal under Californian law – which forbids unauthorized use of people’s likenesses for commercial purposes.
Facebook and the “Like” button are in trouble again. This time though in Virginia where they’re being sued by the living relatives of a deceased Dutch programmer who held some social media patents, one of them distinctly similar to Facebook’s “Like” feature, long before Facebook ever even appeared though.
In 1998, five years before Facebook was introduced, Joannes van Der Meer was granted a patent for his Surfbook. Surfbook was a “personal diary” system (U.S. Patent No. 6,415,316), that actually sounds much like Facebook in its overall concept. Even the names are ironically similar (extremely close in similarity…). Surfbook was fitted with a feature that allowed users to “like” each other’s content ( U.S. Patent No. 6,289,362).
Rembrandt Social Media is the company that still remains from Joannes invention and the company is taking legal action against Facebook. The lawsuit was filed in Virginia, US, on February 5. A Facebook has declined to comment.