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Dutch computer whiz Joannes van der Meer sues Facebook for infringing on 'Surfbook'

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A federal jury is hearing testimony that Facebook infringed on patents held by a Dutch computer programmer who launched a similar site called "Surfbook" more than a decade ago.

A civil trial is underway in federal court in Alexandria, where Facebook is being sued by a holding company called Rembrandt Social Media.

The lawsuit alleges that a Dutch computer whiz, Joannes van der Meer, developed and patented methods for running a web-based personal diary before Facebook came into existence. But his website, Surfbook, never got off the ground.

Facebook fought unsuccessfully for more than a year to keep the case from getting to a jury. The company says the patents should never have been issued to van der Meer.

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