According to a report, Facebook intends to improve its position in patent infringement suits. The patent package apparently covers "various technologies such as software and networking." So far, Facebook has only been granted 56 patents, while 503 are pending in the approval process.
Facebook is in a similar position as Google, who recently complained that young companies have a tough time inventing and competing as they are hit with patent infringement lawsuits, often from patent trolls that buy up old patents, create business entities around individual patents and then launch a patent infringement lawsuit in the hope a corporation is willing to settle the suit for license fees rather than going through a patent battle that may result in even higher license fees. Google is believed to have purchased more than 2000 patents in 2011 alone.
For IBM, this deal is just part of its patent monetization business, which has clearly been heating up lately. Overall, the deal is unlikely to affect IBM's patent base in a noticeable way. The company has led patent approvals for 19 years straight and was granted 6,180 patents in 2011.