Facebook is suing Phoenix Media/Communications, which owns The Boston Phoenix newspaper and WFNX(FM) in Boston for allegedly infringing on two patents that it says help the media company manage online content.
The Boston Globe reports that the social networking site filed suit in a federal district court in Boston. In the suit, Facebook alleges that WFNX and other media outlets of Phoenix Media are using features on their websites that infringe on Facebook patents.
In 2009, Phoenix Media filed a similar infringement suit against Facebook based on a patent it holds related to setting up online profile pages. Tele-Publishing Inc., another Phoenix subsidiary, provides online dating services to newspaper and broadcaster websites.
A Facebook press representative did not respond to inquiries, reported the Globe and a representative of Phoenix Media declined comment.
At least one patent specialist said that suits like the one Facebook filed against the Phoenix are expected and common, according to the account.
Robert Plotkin, a patent lawyer from Burlington who specializes in patent protection, told the Globe the suit is a defense measure. “One reason that many companies obtain patents is to use them defensively to bring counterclaims against other parties if they are sued for patent infringements.’’