Yahoo's big patent war escalation: a lawsuit against Facebook

Yahoo logoAfter threatening Facebook with patent litigation last month, Yahoo has pulled the trigger, charging Facebook with infringing ten of its patents:

To build a successful website, users need to have easy access to many functions and tasks such as messaging and privacy options. The website owner needs revenue through functions such as advertising. All of these functions involve Yahoo!'s innovations. Without Yahoo!'s achievements, websites such as Facebook would not enjoy repeat visitors or substantial advertising revenue.

According to sources who talked to All Things Digital, Yahoo's increasingly litigious posture is being driven by recently hired CEO Scott Thompson.

Yahoo claims Facebook infringes patents related to online advertising, privacy, Web customization, social networking, and messaging.

Yahoo's complaint does not allege that Facebook directly copied Yahoo's products. Rather, Yahoo appears to have claimed broad categories of website functionality, which Facebook may have infringed by accident in the process of building its own website.

For example, Yahoo accuses Facebook of infringing Patent no. 7454509, "Online playback system with community bias." While the patent is written in dense legalese ("A method comprising providing a first community having members, each member of the first community having associated preferences regarding data stream content..."), it appears to claim the concept of serving up customized content to different users in a social network based on their individual preferences.

Another patent, originally granted to Overture (which Yahoo acquired in 2003), appears to cover the concept of arranging the advertisements on a webpage based on past click-through rates.

The lawsuit illustrates how patents are becoming a significant barrier to entry for new firms in the software industry. Given how many patents Yahoo has, and how broad they are, it's hard to see how Facebook could have avoided infringing them. And, of course, Yahoo is far from the only software incumbent with a large portfolio of broad patents.

But until recently, there was a tacit agreement among major software firms not to sue competitors for patent infringement. All firms recognized that a full-scale patent war would be ruinous for the industry. But that gentlemen's agreement began to break down in the heat of competition in the mobile market. And now the patent wars seem to be spreading beyond the mobile market to the software industry more generally.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Facebook, legal action, Yahoo

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

A mobile hotspot in Australia will be capable of hitting gigabit speeds on the go
A new game could be in the works as Blizzard appears to have been hiring for a Diablo-related project
Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri will speak at MWC 2017
However what if you could go way, way back?
The Helio P15 packs an octa-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at 2.2GHz
Samsung claims up to 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power
Preliminary data for October shows another Windows 10 boom
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android 4 Tablet PC with good sound
A cost-effective, 7-inch tablet PC from a renowned manufacturer
October 25, 2013 / 4

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments