Can an emotion be copy-protected? One Dutch firm certainly hopes it can.
The "like" button on Facebook may seem to be a relatively simple way to express admiration for or agreement with something - a photograph, a cleverly phrased status update. But a legal action by a holding company called Rembrandt Social Media seeks to challenge Mark Zuckerberg's monopoly on the digital thumbs-up. Rembrandt is seeking justice from the federal court in the US state of Virginia over Facebook's alleged infringements upon two of the patents that it owns. One of them is the "like" button.
The patent was originally granted in 1998 to the Dutch programmer Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer, who died in 2004, the same year Facebook was founded. Rembrandt said the social networking site's success was partially based on an illegal use of Der Meer's patents.
A court will decide whether this specific case has merit, so we will withhold judgement on whether we "like" the idea or not. In the meantime, feel free to share, comment or "like" this article. Depending on how the Rembrandt case goes, it may be your last chance.