Social network giant Facebook has been sued over the use of its trademark "Like" button, joined by other features of the site.
A patent-holding company is suing Facebook and the social media firm, Add This, on behalf of a late Dutch programmer, Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer. Rembrandt Social Media believes that Facebook's success was partly based on the utilization of two of Van Der Meer's patents without permission.
"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," said lawyer Tom Melsheimer from legal firm, Fish and Richardson, which represents the patent holder.
Rembrandt owns the patents for technologies Van Der Meer utilized to build a social network called Surfbook before his death in 2004. He was granted the patents back in 1998, which is five years before Facebook arrived.
According to legal papers filed by Fish and Richardson, Surfbook was a social diary allowing users to share information with friends and family, as well as approving data by using a "like" button. The lawsuit indicates that Facebook is aware of the patents because it referred to them in its own applications to patent a number of social networking technologies.
Facebook's 'Like' feature has been a well-known social tool for the website. During October 2012, the firm said that over 1.13 trillion 'Likes' have been made.