Yahoo isn’t making any friends by suing Facebook over 10 alleged patent infringements.
After hinting that it might go after Facebook late last month, Yahoo made good on its threat.
Wired’s Epicenter blog put it best: “this is a deplorable move.”
Some have even described the suit as putting Yahoo in the same camp as Paul Ceglia and the Winklevoss twins.
Facebook has yet to file a countersuit, the most common tactic in this type of legal situation, Business Insider points out.
The social network holds 21 patents, while Yahoo has more than 1,029 of them. But one of Facebook’s investors, Microsoft, has 19,800 patents, and some are suggesting that the social network ask the Redmond, Washington software company to help countersue — except that won’t work because Microsoft and Yahoo have a patent sharing arrangement dating back to 2009 and lasting until 2013.
Another tactic some have suggested: Facebook could buy Yahoo, which would make a a stunning reversal of history, given that the portal had once made an offer to buy the social network years ago.
That said, here are the ten patents that Yahoo claims Facebook is infringing upon:
- U.S. Patent 7454509, online playback system with community bias, filed in 2001, issued in 2008: An online music station curated by fans and based on preferences expressed by other fans.
- U.S. Patent 7599935, control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user’s authorization level, filed in 2005, issued in 2009: Enables users to preview content as it would be seen by other users that content is shared with, and relationship categories are assigned.
- U.S. Patent 5983227, dynamic page generator, filed in 1997, issued in 1999: The ability for users to access templates and create customized homepages with content including news, stock quotes, sports scores, weather, and other content.
- U.S. Patent 7747648, world modeling using a relationship network with communication channels to entities, filed in 2005, issued in 2010: The ability for users to contact those responsible for entities such as people, places, businesses, communities, events, or thoughts, via online messaging.
- U.S. Patent 7406501, system and method for instant messaging using an email protocol, filed in 2003, issued in 2008: Systems and methods allowing an instant-messaging user to exchange messages with an email user.
- U.S. Patents 6907566, 7100111, and 7373599, method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage, filed in 1999, issued in 2005: The ability to place graphical objects, such as advertisements, on a webpage, and to allow users to click on those objects and access the content, as well as the ability to track performance data of those objects.
- U.S. Patent 7668861, system and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a network, filed in 2007, issued in 2010: Assigning value scores to user interactions and classifying them based on value scores, in an effort to combat spam and fake users.
- U.S. Patent 7269590, method and system for customizing views of information associated with a social network user, filed in 2004, issued in 2007: Tapping user-defined criteria such as relationships, degrees of separation, dating, employment, hobbies, and other categories to determine which other users the social network will highlight when they log in.
Readers, do you think Facebook has actually infringed upon these patents? What sort of outcome do you expect from this legal challenge?