Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Byte Me: Yahoo Files More Patent Claims Against Facebook

In spite of intense criticism against its patent infringement lawsuit in March, Yahoo filed additional claims against Facebook today.

“Today Yahoo! filed additional claims against Facebook in U.S. District Court in San Jose related to two additional patents on which Facebook infringes. Today’s filing underscores the breadth of Facebook’s violation of Yahoo!’s intellectual property,” said a Yahoo spokesperson in a statement. “As we have stated previously, Yahoo!’s technologies are the foundation of our business that engages over 700 million monthly unique visitors and represent the spirit of innovation upon which Yahoo! is built. We intend to vigorously protect these technologies for our customers and shareholders.”

Facebook had filed its own counterclaims against the Internet portal over various social networking patents and also has recently spent hundreds of millions of dollars for patents and licenses from both IBM and Microsoft to bolster its portfolio.

In its filing, Yahoo’s legal aces got all hot and bothered that Facebook did this, especially the part about handing over piles of dough to others (and not Yahoo).

“However, on information and belief, Facebook lacks a good faith basis for most, if not all, of its counterclaims, particularly those patents that it purchased from others,” read the filing. “All eight of these patents were purchased by Facebook in the past five months, and several of these patents were purchased (independent of any separate technology acquisition or merger) after Yahoo! filed its complaint in this action. On information and belief, many, if not all, of these patents were acquired by Facebook for purposes of retaliation against Yahoo! in this case.”

Uh, duh! (Also, not to be picky, but Yahoo also bought a lot of the patents they are asserting way back when from its acquisition of Overture and did not invent all these innovations, either.)

I am awaiting a response from Facebook, which will probably be along the lines of: Byte me.

[UPDATE: I was right — here’s the comment:

“We remain puzzled by Yahoo’s erratic actions. We disagree with these latest claims and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously.”

(Erratic, by the way, means desperate and pathetic in Facebook-speak.)]

Here is the latest filing:

Yahoo Reply to Counterclaims 4-27

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald