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Surfbook was an early social networking service created by Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van der Meer in the years prior to his death in June 2004.[1] Surfbook was based on technologies whose patents were filed by Van der Meer in 1998[2] and granted in 2001 and 2002.[3] It allowed users share their information with selected people and approve posts using a "Like" button,[2] and to link to external information.[1]

On February 5, 2013, holders of the patents related to this site (Rembrandt Social Media, LP) filed a lawsuit against Facebook for infringement.[2] In June 2014, Facebook successfully defended itself against the lawsuit after a jury found that Facebook did not infringe the patents, and separately found the patents to be invalid.[4] The plaintiff (Rembrandt Social Media, LP) appealed the verdict, but it was upheld by a federal appeals court in February 2016.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Mullin, Joe (2013-02-07). "Before Facebook there was "Surfbook"—now pay up | Ars Technica, February 7, 2013". Arstechnica.com. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  2. ^ a b c "BBC News - Facebook sued over 'like' button, February 11, 2013". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  3. ^ Nederlandse ontwikkelaars klagen Facebook aan: NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch)
  4. ^ "Facebook Beats Surfbook in Patent-Infringement Trial". NBC News. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  5. ^ "Facebook did not infringe Rembrandt patents on web-based diary systems; jury verdict stands". Wolters Kulwer. 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  6. ^ "Opinion in Rembrandt Social Media, L.P. v. Facebook, Case No. 2014-1812, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (February 25, 2016)" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-25.