Facebook is gearing up to go public next month, and is trying to bring together all the things it can to help it in that. Now, the social network has struck a deal with Microsoft to buy 650 AOL patents for a massive $550 million. The patents, naturally, are meant to make Facebook secure and enable it to be protected from any prospective litigation once it goes public.
Facebook is already being sued by Yahoo for alleged infringement. Facebook, on the other hand, totally rejects the allegations and is, in fact, countersuing Yahoo. However, the social networks seems to have learnt that it needs more intellectual property with it just to be on the safe side. So, last month it struck a deal with IBM under which it will be purchasing 750 of IBM’s patents and now, it is purchasing AOL patents from Microsoft for a huge $550 million.
According to the executive vice president and general counsel Microsoft, Brad Smith, ‘Today’s agreement with Facebook enables us to recoup over half of our costs while achieving our goals from the AOL auction. We had submitted the winning AOL bid in order to obtain a durable license to the full AOL portfolio and ownership of certain patents that complement our existing portfolio. We never felt it was necessary or even important for us to own all the patents.’
Facebook folks, on the other hand, were equally happy over the deal. According to the general counsel for Facebook, ‘This is another significant step in our ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect Facebook’s interests over the long term.’
So far, Microsoft and Facebook have been on a fairly good relationship and have been working together. Let’s just hope that at least these two don’t get embroiled in mutual suing game.