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No Facebook office planned for RIM's hometown: source

An employee works on a computer at the new headquarters of Facebook in Menlo Park, California in this January 11, 2012 file photo. The attacks against Facebook signal that social media has become a new front in the Silicon Valley patent wars. Before 2010, online game developer Zynga, Web discount deals operator Groupon and professional social network operator LinkedIn had not faced a single patent lawsuit. Last year, the year those three companies went public, the lawsuits mounted.


Facebook Inc. is not setting up a Canadian office in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, according to a source close to the company, despite rumours to the contrary that have been circulating in the community.

"It's not happening," this person said.

A construction industry trade publication called the Daily Commercial News and Construction Record ran a story in November, 2011, saying that Facebook was setting up a local office in Kitchener. The story didn't exactly strike many as a surprise, since Google Inc. also operates a local office in a refurbished Kitchener tannery, but Facebook's enormous brand recognition gave the story legs.

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Ever since, without any official confirmation or denial, the rumours took on a life of their own, and many of the community's business people simply assumed the story was true. The Kitchener-Waterloo Record, citing the original report, also ran a story speculating on Facebook's plan to set up in a complex of revamped industrial buildings known as the Breithaupt Block.

Toronto-based Perimeter Development Corp., which has focused on development in the region, is spearheading the revitalization project but had no official comment on what tenants may or may not be in talks for commercial space.

Canada's biggest technology company, Research In Motion Ltd. , was founded in Kitchener-Waterloo before it grew into a global giant. It's presence here, which remains huge, kickstarted a huge technology cluster of more than 500 companies that has sprung up around the smartphone giant and the University of Waterloo, which is famed for its engineering department and its research and policy on intellectual property that has encouraged entrepreneurs and a local startup culture.

All along, no one has confirmed the original trade publication report. But the move made a lot of sense to many people in the community, and in Toronto where the online gaming giant Zynga – which makes games that run on Facebook such as Farmville – recently bought Canadian mobile software developers Five Mobile. LinkedIn Corp. also has an office in Toronto.

Facebook said through a Canadian PR agency that it does not comment on rumour and speculation. But a high-ranking person close to the company said that there were no plans to set up a Canadian operation.

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