I don’t know how the folks at Yahoo have anticipated that Facebook would react to their pathetic lawsuit over blurry patents infringement claims which pretty much made Yahoo the loathed tech company recently, but I doubt if they have predicted the following scenario that just happened.
Mark Zuckerberg is striking back at Scott Thompson (Yahoo’s CEO) with a counter-lawsuit of its own, claiming for 10 patented infringement from Yahoo’s side on its most popular properties: Yahoo’s homepage, Flickr, its personalized news algorithm C.O.R.E and also its advertising business (you know, the one that Yahoo uses to make money).
While some may have believed that Facebook would try to reach for a quick settlement as the IPO tunes are playing on the background, Facebook decided to fire back while proving that two can play this vague patent claims game. Facebook’s general counsel Ted Ullyot released the following statement:
From the outset, we said we would defend ourselves vigorously against Yahoo’s lawsuit, and today we filed our answer as well as counter-claims against Yahoo for infringing ten of Facebook’s patents. While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo’s short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation.
While he justifiably attacking Yahoo for trying to squeeze some money out of Facebook success instead of innovating by itself, Ullyot might also hinting about the future relationship between the two companies. Until Yahoo’s lawsuit, the companies had a pretty solid partnership where Facebook even disclosed about a month ago it is sending 1.6 million daily visitors to Yahoo News just from Facebook mobile platform.
Ending that partnership would definitely hurt Yahoo for the long run while it probably won’t have any significant impact on Facebook. Indeed, a poor short-sighted decision by Yahoo that may come back to hunt them in the future after all this legal dust will settle.
Yahoo had the nerve to release the following response to Facebook counter-attack that just makes the company looks more pitiable:
We have only just received Facebook’s answer and counterclaims, but on their face we believe they are without merit and nothing more than a cynical attempt to distract from the weakness of its defense.
News flash Yahoo: Facebook is doing the EXACT same thing as you did!! How on earth don’t you get that?? Or maybe this process of decision-making might just explain how you came up with this miserable case to begin with?
Anyways, here’s a quick summary of the patents Facebook is suing for:
- Patent number 7827208- Generating a feed of stories personalized for members of a social network. Referring to Flickr’s features such as its Activity stream which generates stories.
- Patent number 7945653- Tagging digital media. Regarding to Flickr’s feature to tag people on photos.
- Patent number 6288717- Headline posting algorithm. Regarding to Yahoo’s homepage which shows to users personalized topics with the C.O.R.E. algorithm.
- Patent number 6216133- Method for enabling a user to fetch a specific information item from a set of information items, and a system for carrying out such a method. Regarding to Yahoo showing ads based on the user history on many of its services.
- Patent number 6411949- Customizing database information for presentation with media selections. Regarding to Yahoo showing ads based on the user personal preferences on many of its services.
- Patent number 6236978- System and method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications. Regarding to Yahoo showing ads based on profiling of users on many of its services.
- Patent number 7603331- System and method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications and for validating user rules. Regarding to Yahoo showing ads based on profiling of users on many of its services.
- Patent number 8103611- Architectures, systems, apparatus, methods, and computer-readable medium for providing recommendations to users and applications using multidimensional data. Regarding to Yahoo showing “recommendations” (ads)using using multidimensional data.
- Patent number 8005896- System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network. Regarding to Flickr which allows users “to distribute” (share) contents.
- Patent number 8150913- System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network. Yes, its has the exact same name and description as the prior patent.