A court of Appeal in Milan, Italy, has ordered Facebook to pay $4.7 (around Sh515 million) in damages to an Italian Software developer that accused the giant social media platform of copying its app.
In court documents seen by Reuters, the Judges said that Facebook had copied its ‘Nearby’ feature from Italy’s Faround app, developed by Business Competencies.
Both the app and the Nearby feature help users identify shops, restaurants, clubs and other places in the surrounding through geolocalization.
Business Competencies filed a lawsuit in 2013 and sued Facebook for copying its Faround application which helps Facebook friends within the same area locate each other.
The court documents show that Facebook went ahead to launch their Nearby feature just a few months after Faround was included in their app store in 2012.
The complaint further says that the two applications were “extremely similar” in the general set-up and functionality.
The court of appeal upheld a 2019 ruling but increased the amount Facebook has to pay in damages from 350,000 euros (Around Sh 47 million)
“We have received the court’s decision and are examining it carefully,” a Facebook spokesman told Reuters.
Business Competencies launched Faround in September 2012 and it quickly became popular in Italy . Data from Annie, an app that measures online traffic, shows that it was the most downloaded app in Italy during the week of Nov 22, 2012.
Downloads declined a month just after Facebook launched their Nearby Feature on Dec 17 the same year.
“It was a big blow to us to see that we were losing everything we had invested (into Faround),” Business Competence Chief Executive Sara Colnago told Reuters, adding that it had cost the company $530,050 to develop the app.