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Federal Circuit affirms patent cancellation in Facebook’s first-ever patent case

March 3, 2015

When Facebook was first sued for patent infringement over eight years ago, the young company turned to Cooley.

The case was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by venture capital firm, Cross Atlantic Capital Partners (XACP) just one year after Facebook expanded its site from Harvard University to the general public. XACP claimed that its "online community" patent covered a wide variety of key Facebook features. XACP was seeking royalties, a permanent injunction against Facebook, and attorneys' fees.

Cooley guided the company through seven years of hotly contested litigation across multiple forums. Just a few weeks before trial, Facebook asked the Patent Office to invalidate the patent based on several systems and books that predated the patent, and convinced the district court to stay the case pending the Patent Office's decision.

The Patent Office initially found the claims valid. Facebook appealed to the Board of Patent Appeals (BPAI) and the BPAI judges ruled that the Examiner was wrong, and that the patent claims were invalid. XACP appealed and, in 2014, the Federal Circuit affirmed the invalidity of all claims of the patent.

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