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Facebook to buy patents from Microsoft for $550 million

Facebook calls it a significant step in the ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect company's interests over the long term.

BT Online Bureau   San Francisco     Last Updated: April 24, 2012  | 10:18 IST

Facebook announced on Monday that is spending 550 million dollars for a block of AOL patents. The company would pay Microsoft Corp for hundreds of patents that originated with AOL, beefing up its intellectual property arsenal.

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"Today's agreement with Microsoft represents an important acquisition for Facebook," Ted Ullyot, Facebook's general counsel, said in a joint statement of the two companies.

"This is another significant step in our ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect Facebook 's interests over the long term," Xinhua quoted Ullyot as saying.

The agreement with Facebook "enables us to recoup over half our costs while achieving our goals from the AOL auction", said Brad Smith, executive vice-president at Microsoft.

The deal is expected to give Facebook a stronger position in the technology patent battlefield, where the company had been weak and facing lawsuits, most notably from Yahoo.

Late last month, Facebook was said to purchase 750 patents covering software and networking from IBM, according to a Bloomberg report.

Yahoo sued Facebook over 10 patent infringements in March, covering internet privacy, advertising and information sharing. Facebook filed a countersuit against Yahoo on April 3.

Microsoft got the AOL patents in "a competitive auction" April 9 for $1.056 billion in cash. The patent portfolio spans technologies like advertising, search and social networking.

With IANS inputs

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