Yahoo, a onetime Internet giant is now turning patent troll apparently. Mashable confirms that Yahoo is suing Facebook over the unlawful use and deployment of technologies governed by 10 Yahoo patents. The complaint has been filed in the U.S District Court in San Jose, California and states that Facebook used Yahoo innovations like messaging, news-feed, advertising, social commenting and click fraud protection without being authorized by the company.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network boasting above 800 million users while Yahoo has aged past its prime. It seems that Yahoo is not aging gracefully enough! The complaint says that since Yahoo was founded some 10 years before Facebook, the social networking giant has incorporated most of yahoo’s innovations and hence grown to become the world’s largest social network with very high traffic flow. The complaint further states that, “Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and might not be the greatest time for Facebook to look at contesting this lawsuit due to the fact that its IPO is almost around the corner in May. This IPO is supposed to be the biggest ever by an American company and we are sure that Facebook will have its hands full with the IPO and won’t concentrate much on the lawsuit. Yahoo had tried to settle the dispute with Facebook earlier but the discussions seemingly broke down without an agreement and hence Yahoo was forced to take this step.
Yahoo is demanding that Facebook pay the licensing fees for the use of their patents.
We have spoken earlier about how the existing patent system is bad for innovation due to some generic and ridiculous patents being registered. Almost every technology company is grappling with the unwanted consequences of knowingly and unknowingly infringing on some one’s patents. There is Apple suing Samsung and HTC and Microsoft getting royalty on Android from device manufacturers and now this. Google recently bought patents from IBM to defend itself against patent trolls. Something needs to be done to resolve the patent issue once and for all before it makes technological innovation non-existent.
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