Intellectual Property

Facebook Expects to Grow In-House Department During 2013


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Facebook expects to expand its in-house team by 38 percent in 2013, its deputy general counsel of intellectual property recently said at a Silicon Valley event.

At the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Corporate Counsel Best Practices event, Sam O’Rourke said that his company currently has a legal department of 65 people, counting lawyers and staff but hopes to have 90 lawyers and staff by the end of 2013.

In November, O’Rourke spoke with the Financial Times (reg. req.) about the March 2012 patent lawsuit Yahoo filed against Facebook while the social media giant geared up for its initial public offering. Facebook has been buying patents for some time, according to the Financial Times, but it lacked a “strong defensive IP portfolio” like its business rivals that have longer histories. Many expected Facebook to settle rather than jeopardize the IPO, the publication reports. Instead Facebook filed a countersuit.

“I think the public perception was that we were not prepared to defend ourselves,” O’Rourke told the Financial Times.

The cases did eventually settle. No money changed hands, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reported, and both companies announced an advertising partnership that expanded distribution arrangements and a patent cross-license.

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