LinkedIn Rolls Out “Follow” Button as Facebook Enters the Patent Fray

LNKD: LinkedIn logo

While 2011 was already packed with various social-network based initiatives by LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), the company continues to roll out new initiatives. In its latest move, the world’s largest professional network has rolled out a “Follow” button, [1] which allows LinkedIn users to follow companies’ updates including news, job opportunities and conversations. This comes after a slew of similar embedded plug-ins like the “Apply With LinkedIn” button.

See our complete analysis for LinkedIn’s stock here

Patents in Social Media – A Sleeping Giant?

So far, large scale technological patent wars have been restricted to mobile devices, primarily involving tech giants Google, Apple and Microsoft. However, with Yahoo launching a surprise patent attack on Facebook, this could just be a start of the patent battle entering the social media sphere as well.

Although Facebook’s patent base is still significantly lower compared to the aforementioned companies, [2] considering the boom in social media, it won’t be a surprise if Facebook itself starts using its patents as a weapon. While LinkedIn’s “Follow” button should be warmly received by employers and employees alike, the company may see more scrutiny from Facebook if more strikingly similar features are launched in the future.

We currently have a price estimate of $39 for LinkedIn’s stock, which is well below the current market price.

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Understand How a Company’s Products Impact its Stock Price at Trefis

  1. LinkedIn Follow Button: Companies, Look Who’s Following You Now, LinkedIn Blog, 27th Feb 2012 []
  2. Facebook’s Patents, USPTO Patent Full-Text And Image Database []