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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Jury gives Facebook victory in patent case; Suit claimed 'Surfbook' had technology first

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Facebook has successfully defended itself against a lawsuit that claimed the company infringed on patents held by a Dutch programmer who launched a website called "Surfbook" more than a decade ago.

A holding company called Rembrandt Social Media had alleged that a now-deceased Dutch computer whiz, Joannes Van Der Meer, developed and patented methods for running a Web-based personal diary before Facebook came into existence. But his website, Surfbook, never got off the ground.

Facebook said the patents should never have been issued to Van Der Meer.

A jury in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia returned the verdict Friday in favour of Menlo Park, California-based Facebook Inc.

Patent-infringement cases rarely make it to a jury trial. Facebook fought for a year to keep the case from getting to a jury.

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