It's been a pretty open secret for quite some time that Facebook is actively in the market to buy a bunch of patents, and now it's done its first big deal, scoring 750 patents from IBM
to add to the 56 patents it currently has (some of which it purchased, and some of which it applied for). There's been plenty of talk about people who don't really know much about patents about how Facebook "needs" more patents, and the ridiculous Yahoo lawsuit
only increased the attention the issue is getting. Plus, there are some investors who still -- for whatever reason -- think that the number of patents in a portfolio are a reasonable proxy for innovation or the ability to control a market. Of course, none of these patents will help Facebook against its most common legal foe: the patent troll. They're really only useful either against other operating companies (to ward off patent nuclear war cross-suits) or if Facebook decides to become obnoxious like Yahoo and start suing others offensively.
What this really shows is just how broken
the patent system is. Facebook basically just had to waste a large chunk of money on a bunch of patents that have nothing to do with innovation, which won't help Facebook provide a better product for its users and which will only serve to create more money for lawyers somewhere down the road. That's not a healthy system. That's not an efficient system, and it's not one that's good for innovation or economic growth.