Although Facebook didn’t buy AOL’s patent portfolio the other week — it was gobbled up by Microsoft for $1 billion — it’s going to get a big serving of those patents anyway: Microsoft and Facebook today announced
that Microsoft would be selling to Facebook 650 of the 925 patents that
it bought from AOL to Facebook for $550 million in cash.
It will also get a license for the remaining 275 patents that
Microsoft bought from the AOL portfolio, which Microsoft will continue
to own. On top of this, Microsoft also has a license for the 300 patents
that AOL still owns; but at this point, Facebook will not have a
license for those patents still owned by AOL.
The deal gives Facebook a much stronger position in the world of
patents, where it had been weak up to now and has been facing lawsuits,
most notably from Yahoo, over infringement. It now appears to own 1,460
patents (750 from IBM, these 650 from Microsoft/AOL, 60 of its own) plus applications for more, plus any it may be getting through acquisitions.