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Mitel Files Patent Lawsuit Against Pre-IPO Facebook

Facebook dealt another patent suit in run up to initial public offering

Mitel, a provider of business communications and collaboration software, has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network is infringing on two of its patents.

In papers filed at a court in Delaware, the Ottawa-based company said Facebook infringed on patents for “automatic web page creation” and “pro-active features for telephony”.

Mitel seeks compensation

The company had previously tried to discuss a licensing agreement with the social network, but had not received any reply, thereby prompting the lawsuit.

“Facebook has actual knowledge of Mitel’s patents and has been aware of the [patents] since at least as early as July 2011, when Mitel sent Facebook a letter identifying the [patent],” Mitel said in the filing. “Mitel sent Facebook a letter dated July 14, 2011 and a second letter dated September 16, 2011, offering to discuss possible licensing arrangements regarding the Mitel patents. Facebook never responded to Mitel’s letters.”

Consequently, Mitel is seeking compensation for damages already suffered, suitable royalties and legal fees. It claims that as the infringements were “wilful and deliberate” it deserves enhanced royalties.

“Mitel has filed a lawsuit against Facebook in the US District Court of Delaware, alleging infringement of two Mitel patents,” a spokesperson said in statement provided to The Next Web. “Mitel actively licenses its patents and protecting our IP is a fundamental part of our business. Available details are contained in the complaint. As the matter is now before the court, we will not be elaborating further at this point.”

Whether or not it is intentionally timed, Mitel’s lawsuit will serve as yet another headache for Facebook as it prepares for an initial public offering. Mitel could capitalise on this turbulent period for the social network by acquiring a sizeable payout or pre-IPO stock. Yahoo has already set the trend by demanding a payout from Facebook over 10 allegedly infringed patents.