Facebook buys patents from Microsoft for $550 million

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“Today’s agreement with Facebook enables us to recoup over half of our costs while achieving our goals from the AOL auction,” Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said in a statement.

The deal could help Facebook fend off intellectual property lawsuits, including one from Yahoo.

Yahoo's lawsuit claims Facebook copied Yahoo products in areas such as advertising, privacy controls, social networking and messaging.

“This is another significant step in our ongoing process of building an intellectual property portfolio to protect Facebook’s interests over the long term,” said Ted Ullyot, Facebook's general counsel.

The deal is subject to approval by federal regulators.