Yahoo Sues Facebook Over 10 Alleged Patent Violations

Accuses Facebook of succeeding by using Yahoo patents

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2012 8:46 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Yahoo followed through on its threat to sue Facebook today, filing a suit accusing the social networking company of violating 10 Yahoo patents. The suit, filed by new CEO Scott Thompson, reportedly comes after months of talks between the two companies; it alleges that Facebook got a "free ride" by using patented technology covering everything from messaging to online ads. Yahoo is struggling and Facebook is about to go public; suits like this are common in such cases, an expert tells the Wall Street Journal. Another tells Reuters that the timing might make Facebook "more willing to resolve" the differences.

The suit alleges that Facebook succeeded by using principles "Yahoo had its pulse on" years earlier, a former Yahoo exec says; one example is Facebook's newsfeed, which is similar to Yahoo's patent for custom data streams. "With this lawsuit Yahoo is saying they had the ideas first," the exec says. Indeed, the lawsuit quotes Mark Zuckerberg himself, Mashable reports; he once said, "Getting there first is not what it's all about." A Facebook spokesperson says the company first learned of the suit through the media.

The Yahoo logo is displayed outside of the offices in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, April 18, 2011.
The Yahoo logo is displayed outside of the offices in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, April 18, 2011.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology. - Yahoo lawsuit

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