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In what is either the boldest gamble of its history or the most boneheaded, Yahoo has filed a massive patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook.
The attack by the Silicon Valley Internet icon against perhaps the most powerful consumer social networking site today — also based in tech’s heartland and also an important partner of Yahoo — is sure to be a controversial one, pitting Yahoo against a company that has surpassed it handily in recent years in regards to popularity among consumers.
“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’s lawsuit reads, in part.
That includes, Yahoo alleges, Facebook’s popular News Feed, advertising methods, privacy settings and more. The company adds that Facebook has been “free riding” on Yahoo’s intellectual property and that royalty payments alone will not suffice.
royalty payments alone will not suffice
In 2004, Google ended up issuing pre-IPO shares to Yahoo to settle that dispute, and there’s a chance we could see Facebook doing the same.
Imagine Yahoo won their claim to the Newsfeed on Facebook...Facebook would have to totally alter their functionality.
Yahoo didn't patent the Newsfeed, they patented a Dynamic Content Generator. Which means that practically every site on the web is breaking one of Yahoo's "patents".
Software patents are inherently silly. I could write a poem, and you could write a poem, and they would be completely different in words and structure, but now Yahoo has patented the poem and we must pay up. Unless the code is stolen, you should not be able to patent a general idea.
They even patented where to place ads on a site, how dumb is that? Someone from the patent office needs to step in and cancel all software patents.