Family claims Facebook stole ‘like’ button

The family of a dead Dutch programmer is taking Facebook to court, claiming the social network giant has stolen its famous ‘like’ button.

Facebook is also being sued over its timeline feature by a Dutch company representing deceased programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus Van Der Meer.

It is claimed Mr Van Der Meer invented and patented the concepts first and Facebook has used these patents without his permission.

The company, Rembrandt Social Media, filed the lawsuit last week, claiming the late computer programmer, who died in 2004, patented his ideas in 1998.

Facebook, which last night said it had no comment to make on the lawsuit, was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg from his Harvard dorm room.

Tom Melshiimer who represents the patent holder, said: “We believe Rembrandt’s patents represent an important foundation of social media, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence.”

The lawsuit says Van Der Meer had patented a website which allowed users to “collect personal information and third-party content, organise the information chronologically on a personalised web page, and share the information with a selected group of people, such as the end user’s friends, through the use of user-settable privacy levels”.

Presently Rembrandt owns patents for technologies Mr Van Der Meer used to build a fledgling social network, called Surfbook.

The claim points out Facebook “bears a remarkable resemblance to the personal web page diary that Van Der Meer had invented years earlier.”

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