Facebook Buys $40 Million Friendster Patents

Facebook has quietly protected its dominant position in social networking by buying the Friendster portfolio of patents from MOL Global.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the deal – which covers seven patents and 11 pending patent applications – to VentureBeat, but didn’t disclose terms. GigaOm reports that the deal was valued at $40 million and included a combination of advertising, a partnership for payments for virtual goods, and cash.

MOL bought Friendster, which is still popular in parts of South-East Asia, for $39.5 million last year. MOL is a payment partner for Facebook Credits, allowing users in Asia to buy the virtual currency in retail stores.

The patents are broad and include things like compatibility scoring for users in a social network. They can be viewed online at the US Patent and Trademark Office database.

It’s thought that Facebook is buying the patents mainly as a protective move to prevent potential intellectual property violation claims.