Facebook Threatened by Potential Yahoo Patent Lawsuit

By Joseph Mandour on March 2, 2012

Patent Infringement Orange County – Yahoo has recently accused Facebook of infringing on technology related patents including technologies related to advertising, social networking, and messaging. As the New York Times first reported, Yahoo has threatened to sue Facebook for patent infringement unless it agrees to pay licensing fees. Facebook is being accused of infringing on at least 10 to 20 patents although it has not been revealed exactly what patents are being infringed.

Yahoo, which launched in 1994, has patented or acquired more than 1,000 patents and is no stranger to patent infringement. In 2003, Yahoo sued Google for infringing on 60 patents stemming from having purchased Overture, a search based advertising company. After an attempted court battle in 2004, a settlement was reached in which Yahoo received an award of 2.7 million Google shares as well as Google’s agreement to license several of the patents that it had infringed.

In an email to the E-Commerce Times, Yahoo spokesperson Micheline Tang recently stated, “Yahoo has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property,” Tang continued, ” We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights.” Meanwhile, a representative from Facebook stated, “Yahoo contacted us at the same time they called The New York Times and so we haven’t had the opportunity to fully evaluate their claims.”

Facebook has most recently been in the media for its upcoming $5 billion announcement regarding an IPO. In the light of this announcement, it has been speculated that Yahoo chose to threaten Facebook at this time as an incentive for Facebook to act quickly on its threat and avoid the negative media attention.

Although Facebook has been around for 8 years, Facebook has only about 56 U.S. patents in its portfolio.

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