Yahoo v. Facebook

Another day, another patent lawsuit in Silicon Valley. This time, Yahoo is suing Facebook for allegedly infringing on 10 patents issued Yahoo between 1999 and 2010. Just two months after naming their new chief executive, Scott Thompson, Yahoo claims the entire concept of Facebook is based on their patented social networking technologies. The suit comes just before Facebook’s upcoming IPO, which puts the company in a vulnerable spot.

Read the whole story at the Washington Post


Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is Fox 5 New York's On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television's monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network's, Shelly Palmer Digital Living Daily, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards).

  • Steve Hansen (Hansen IP Law)

    If you are interested in how this case may play out, today we posted a
    blog at which discusses a key issue that may arise
    in the case: whether the patents cover “statutory subject matter.” This
    concerns whether the patents cover the type of thing that can be
    patented, regardless of how new it is. The law is very muddy in this
    area, but it may provide fertile ground for Facebook to attack. It may
    also present an opportunity for the courts to do a better job of
    clarifying what can and cannot be patented.

  • Patentlyobvious

    As you are probably aware, only two of the ten asserted Facebook patents were originally assigned to Facebook. This is unsurprising, and further reflects Facebook’s patchwork patent portfolio. More than 65% of its US patents were originally issued to another entity (not even counting its recent 750 patent acquisition from IBM), and the company itself has applied for over 400 patents in the past 18 months. Facebook’s actions are indicative of a company desperate to retroactively protect its technologies.What you may not have known is that there are over 30,000 patents with similar claims to the asserted Facebook patents, and of these, 3,800 predate the asserted patents. And this number is only if we are looking at Facebook’s patents! If we look at both the Yahoo! and Facebook patents-in-suit, this number would double, if not triple.This could be unfortunate for either company, but it especially reflects negatively on the United States Patent and Trademark Office. If USPTO examiners had taken into account these 3,800 patents, the asserted patents from both companies may not have been issued, and the current lawsuits between Facebook and Yahoo! would not have occurred. As a result, Yahoo!’s litigation expenses would be free to go towards the salaries of its 2,000 soon-to-be-laid-off employees. Our Patently Obvious Report discusses this ongoing litigation!