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Facebook buys AOL patents from Microsoft

Facebook is to pay Microsoft $550 million for hundreds of patents that the software giant bought from AOL earlier this month.

Facebook ibm patents 2012 03 23Enlarge
On February 1 Facebook announced it was seeking to raise $5 billion in funds through an initial public offering. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Facebook is to pay Microsoft $550 million for hundreds of patents that the software giant just bought from AOL.

Microsoft spent over $1 billion on buying up most of AOL’s patents and patent applications earlier this month, beating rivals reported to have included Facebook, according to the BBC.

Facebook is now to buy about 650 of those patents, the companies said Monday, and will get a licence to use the rest of the 920 AOL patents and patent applications that Microsoft purchased.

More from GlobalPost: AOL, Microsoft reach $1 billion patent deal

The companies have not revealed what the patents cover, although a source familiar with the situation told Reuters that they covered a broad spectrum of technology, including mobile services, cell phone handsets, e-commerce and advertising.

A Facebook lawyer described the deal as: "Another significant step in our ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect Facebook's interests."

More from GlobalPost: Facebook buys 750 patents from IBM to build defense against Yahoo!

Facebook, which is expected to go public in May, was sued by Yahoo! for patent infringement earlier this year. The struggling Internet firm accused Facebook of violating 10 of its patents covering social networking, privacy controls and advertising.

Facebook countered with its own lawsuit this month, accusing Yahoo! of violating 10 of its own patents, the Associated Press reports.

The sale is the latest in a string of high-profile patent buyouts among technology firms as they try to defend themselves in lawsuits.

In the last year, Google took over Motorola for $12.5 billion; a consortium of companies (including Microsoft) bought 6,000 technologies from the bankrupt Nortel Networks for $4.5 billion; Facebook reportedly purchased 750 patents from IBM; and Eastman Kodak has been reorganizing its' bankruptcy around the planned sale of its 1,100 digital imaging patents, which have an estimated worth of up to $2.6 billion, The New York Times reports

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