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Facebook trying to tie up loose ends before IPO

Facebook users in Worcester may be interested in knowing that when you don't have an aseptic business contract, you leave yourself and your company wide open to pathogens. As Facebook approaches its Initial Public Offering as early as mid-May, it first has to tie up loose ends, complete any acquisitions in the pipeline and try to settle any pending business litigation. The IPO is expected to raise more than $5 billion for the social media site.

As you know, Facebook just purchased Instagram, the photo-sharing application for smartphones for about $1 billion. While many people are scratching their head about the worth of a two-year-old company with 13 employees, others agree that eating your largest competitors is brilliant. Facebook has already spent $68 million on acquisitions of Beluga, Snaptu and Gowalla since August 2009.

There's also a nagging little suit by a fellow name Paul Ceglia who hired Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 to work on a different startup website. Ceglia says he's entitled to half of Zuckerberg's ownership in Facebook. Facebook has asked judges to throw out the suit and claim the nuisance suit is being filed now simply to disrupt the upcoming IPO

Patent and intellectual property disputes in the computer world are extremely difficult to prove and win. So many of today's technology capabilities are built on top of one another and changing so rapidly it's hard to keep track of them all. Last month, Yahoo! sued Facebook for allegedly infringing on patents related to social networking, customization, messaging and advertising. Yahoo! is demanding that Facebook license its technologies, just as other companies have. Facebook holds 60 of its own patents and has acquired 750 more from IBM in March.

Source: Bloomberg.com, "Facebook, PerkinElmer, Daimler, Nike: Intellectual Property," Victoria Slind-Flor, March 29, 2012

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