Yahoo sues Facebook for ‘10 patent breaches’

Mar 14, 2012 | Regulation

Yahoo! has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network giant infringed 10 of its patents, in a move that could disrupt the social network’s plans to go public this year. The legal action involves alleged patent infringements covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking. “Yahoo’s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online […]

Yahoo! has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, claiming the social network giant infringed 10 of its patents, in a move that could disrupt the social network’s plans to go public this year.


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The legal action involves alleged patent infringements covering advertising, privacy controls and social networking.
“Yahoo’s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls,” the lawsuit claims.
“Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.”
Facebook has stated it will staunchly defend itself against these “puzzling actions”, adding: “We’re disappointed that Yahoo!, a long-time business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation.”
Patents at issue include some of the first awarded to Yahoo. The company also gained a trove of intellectual property from the 2003 purchase of Overture Services, a search-advertising company that sued companies like Google over patent issues.
The news comes following a turbulent period at Yahoo.
The company sacked its CEO Carol Bartz in September, replacing her with former PayPal executive Scott Thompson. Co-founder Jerry Yang resigned from the firm in January.
Although patent litigation is common in the smartphone and personal computing market, this is the first major case in the social media sector – and one that could give Yahoo a significant financial boost.

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