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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Facebook vs. Yahoo in Patent Row

Just as the industry experts predicted, Facebook didn’t left Yahoo’s patent claim unnoticed and replied with a counterclaim of its own.

Media reports confirm that in order to fight the claim, the largest social networking site in the world had to rush out to the shops and buy a few patents of its own. A number of the patents asserted today were indeed acquired after Yahoo provoked the company. Worse still, social network is also insisting that it has “implied” licenses to those very patents which Yahoo is using to sue.

Yahoo has launched a lawsuit a month ago, claiming that the entire social network model of Facebook was based on their social networking technology. Online giant benefited from one of the Facebook weaknesses: a shortage of patents. However, the networking company apparently rushed out and got a few. Some of them were filing for new patents, while others were just bought by Facebook from 3rd parties.

Only 20% of the patents asserted by Facebook originated from within the company. Among them there was a patent obtained by Mark Zuckerberg himself. Actually, there were only 10 patents in the center of the discussion, and only two of them were initially from Facebook, while 8 others seem to be acquired recently. One of them was purchased in the end of March, a couple of others were bought in February, and two Facebook got in last December. Another three patents asserted by the largest social network worldwide are still recorded by the Patent and Trademark Office of the United States as being owned by New York University. It means that these patents must have been acquired so recently that the transfer hasn’t been registered with the patent office yet.

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