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Importance of Facebook ‘Like’ button intensifies

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 13 February 2013

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Importance of Facebook ‘Like’ button intensifies


The importance of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button has reached a different and controversial level as the social network is defending a lawsuit


Whether agencies and brands are fans or not, Facebook’s ‘Like’ button has become an important instrument (unfortunately a metric for many), part of popular culture and rapidly became synonymous with consumers intent across digital environments.  

However, the importance of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button has reached an interesting new development as the social network finds itself defending a lawsuit from Rembrandt Social Media.  The case has attracted the attention of one of the world most well renowned global law firms Fish & Richardson who are known for its intellectual property (IP) expertise.
Boost Links Behind The Facebook Like Button image
The law firm has filed a patent lawsuit in Virginia, USA on behalf of Rembrandt Social Media, an affiliate of Rembrandt IP Management stating that Facebook has infringed two Rembrandt patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,415,316 and No. 6,289,362.  Social media company Add This Inc. is accused of infringing the No. 6,289,362 patent.  The press release states that both patents originally were issued to inventor Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer ("Jos" van der Meer) more than 10 years ago.

Tom Melsheimer, attorney and counsel for Rembrandt and managing principal of Fish & Richardson's Dallas office, explains, "We believe Rembrandt's patents represent an important foundation of social media as we know it, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence."

The timing is ironic as independent Facebook marketing service Boost Likes released its infographic entitled ‘Behind the Facebook Like Button’ just days afterward the lawsuit announcement.

The infographic strives to shed a light upon the famous ‘Like’ and how it is used by businesses and consumers; apparently installed on over 250,000,000 websites (20% of the world’s websites) according to research Boots Likes has sourced.   The research also states that 500 million active people use Facebook daily with 50 million pages receiving Likes (equating to 578 Likes per second).  Across the globe 125 million websites use the Like button (equating to one in five) and on average people that Like websites are purported to have 2.4 more friends than average.  Whether this relates to friends in the real sense isn’t clear, but it’s probably safe to assume that it’s not.  

Unsurprisingly, the research claims that emotional stories and passionate debates receive two to three times more attention - pointing out that brands often use this technique in marketing. Although the research may be interesting highlighting the prowess of Facebook and its ‘Likes’, some may question the need, responsibility and even ethics in buying ‘Likes’. Indeed, what impact that may have on any brand regardless of its size and stature and what this can mean for this seemingly well sort after element of Facebook.

Facebook, controversy and lawsuits are all old friends.  The social network has successfully defended most and kept its reputation more or less intact so far. With ‘Like’ such an integral element to its service, Facebook being sued is likely to be met with annoyance from the social network.  It remains to be seen if this recent bout may shed more light on how it built its global social dominance and whether it can maintain it in the long term.

Behind the Facebook Like Button Infographic


Behind the Facebook Like Button


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