Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Even as Settlement Hopes Appear, Facebook Blames Shoddy Checking in Answer to Yahoo Patent-Fraud Claim

When last we tuned in to the ongoing drama that is the patent-infringement lawsuit that Yahoo aimed at Facebook, Yahoo had a CEO — Scott Thompson — who was full steam ahead in pressing the controversial legal action.

Now, multiple sources said, the Silicon Valley Internet giant has got a new one — interim CEO Ross Levinsohn — who is already reaching out to top execs at the social networking giant in hopes of finding a settlement.

Still, until peace reigns in the digital kingdom, the legal wrangling grinds on and, today, Facebook has answered Yahoo’s most recent claim of “inequitable conduct” because of false statement by moving to dismiss it.

Yahoo had called many of Facebook’s counterclaims — using some of its own newly obtained patents — “tainted,” and said Facebook’s actions were “retaliatory.”

Not so, answered Facebook lawyers today, claiming that Yahoo did not do its homework, and also that Yahoo had “no coherent theory or facts suggesting deceptive intent.”

Among other issues, Facebook alleges in the claim that Yahoo did not check if Facebook had filed an inventor affidavit with the Patent Office, related to two of the patents. Except, um, it did.

“Yahoo claims that two of the ten patents Facebook asserts are unenforceable due to inequitable conduct. But all of these allegations are unsupportable and/or deficient,” said the Facebook filing, which is embedded below. “First, Yahoo claims these patents do not list Joseph Liauw as an inventor and that there is no sworn statement by Mr. Liauw in the Patent Office records explaining his omission. Yahoo’s claim is demonstrably false. Yahoo made this allegation without actually reviewing the publically available Patent Office records, because these records include the exact sworn statement from Mr. Liauw Yahoo claims is missing.”

What? Yahoo not good at checking? Hmm … that sounds familiar!

It’s interesting that Facebook struck on the eve of its IPO on Friday, perhaps making it clear to investors that it was not going to pay up big bucks to Yahoo in what it clearly considers a patent shakedown.

I have a call into Yahoo PR for a comment, but have not heard back as yet.

Here is the latest filing, which is getting more legally confusing by the millisecond (I am now totally glad I decided not to go to law school, so make it stop, Ross!):

FINAL

And here is more affidavit stuff:

FH-60104311


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik