Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Facebook Patents Yahoo! News Technology

Yahoo Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Facebook 121

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the zuckerburg-unfriends-mr-thompson-lawsuit-results dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from an article over at ZD Net: "As expected, Yahoo today filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook. The online giant is claiming the social networking giant infringes on 10 of its patents. Yahoo is hoping to secure some portion of Facebook's revenues moving forward. 'Yahoo! has invested substantial resources in research and development through the years, which has resulted in numerous patented inventions of technology that other companies have licensed,' a Yahoo spokesperson told AllThingsD. 'These 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. Unfortunately, the matter with Facebook remains unresolved and we are compelled to seek redress in federal court. We are confident that we will prevail.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Yahoo Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Facebook

Comments Filter:
  • by multiben (1916126) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:20PM (#39333191)
    The quantity of time and energy these guys spend suing each other is staggering. It is sad to see other parts of the world (Australia) following the US example in this field rather than learning from it.
    • by olsmeister (1488789) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:28PM (#39333301)
      And during the golden age of technology, when computers ran faster than ever before and all the far flung corners of the world were connected and able to communicate instantaneously, the most lucrative profession a young geek could aspire to was ... lawyer.
      • by ronocdh (906309)
        The most lucrative profession a young geek can aspire do doesn't exist yet. Go make it.
      • by mkiwi (585287)

        Actually, young (and some older) lawyers are having major trouble finding jobs. There's a huge glut of lawyers right now, which is no surprise since so many people jumped on the bandwagon and thought it would be easy money. Anyone going into law right now had better have a parent with a practice or some connection to a major corporation, or they'll be arguably unemployed.

        Of course, an unemployed lawyer usually ends up being a politician...

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          That is why I'm glad my oldest boy is going to be a doctor. The pastor at the local college was so impressed by his work ethic and leadership ability he pulled some strings and pretty much all of his education is gonna be paid for (he's hoping to talk him into being a medical missionary, which with his love of helping the poor i could see him going on a couple of missions a year) so when he graduates 8 years from now hopefully there will still be a high demand for doctors. I told him he ought to specialize

        • by Anonymous Coward

          This may be generally true. But IP law is a different story. As you may suspect, CS/EE plus a law degree is in relative high demand right now.

      • by pete6677 (681676)

        Thank God technology progresses faster than patent trolls otherwise nothing technological could ever be invented again. Any new device or service in the United States infringes on multiple patents, no matter how innovative it may be.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Thank God technology progresses faster than patent trolls

          No, thank God that patents don't last as long as copyrights. Can you imagine how technology would stagnate with 95 year long patents? That is how art and literature are stagnating now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:56PM (#39333601)

      When you have 1 in 3 students in the USA taking a major in law what did you think would happen ?

      "Among those seeking a doctorate or professional degree, law was the No. 1 choice among men and women. There were nearly three times as many men and women becoming attorneys as there were earning a medical degree"
      source [cbsnews.com]

      with all those lawyers itching to use their new found knowledge who are also in 6 digit debt to get their degree, and desperate does what desperate can, nothing clarifies the mind quite like a debt collector banging your door at 5am

      well you end up with a society just like the one we see emerging, sue everybody for anything because you need to put food on your table AND pay the piper at the end of the month or he will take all you have.

      so this Yahoo trial is just the tip of the iceberg, the best conclusion for any business is if you want to innovate, do it outside USA, do not sell/visit/talk to them, its safer that way.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:16PM (#39333823)

        How horribly misleading and incorrect. So law was the most popular professional "doctoral" degree, big deal. It's not a "major", and it's not 1 in 3 students, it's 1 in 3 "doctoral" students (which is a tiny fraction of all US university education).

        And it's made even more misleading by the fact that it's very difficult to get into (and requires a lot of effort and focus to graduate from) *any* medical school in the US (and if you graduate, you have to do another 3-6 years residency after which you have an almost certain chance of getting a decent job), while there are a ton of crappy law schools that accept even crappier applicants. And calling a JD a "doctorate" is kind of a joke (it's a 3 year program, the 3rd year of which is mostly spent looking for a job and getting ready to take the bar). Not to mention a lot of those new JDs can't find a job today anyway and/or never manage to pass a bar, and many others never intended to actually practice law in the first place.

    • The quantity of time and energy these guys spend suing each other is staggering.

      Yeah. It's shocking anyone still tries to launch a dot com startup in this country. And the vote of no confidence in ICANN is another nail in the coffin of US dominance of the internet. It's very quickly becoming a bit player thanks to its short-sighted public policies. I know of several friends of mine that are working on some interesting IT projects that could get them some venture funding; I've helped all of them prepare passports and a list of investment firms that do not share this country's zest for f

      • by Fluffeh (1273756)

        nail in the coffin of US dominance of the internet

        I never looked at the US as being dominant on the internet. I do agree that a LOT of American companies were dominant, but I looked at it as more of a "in the right place" type of scenario. It was like the companies got ahead of the law/regulation curve and made the money. Now that the government and lawmakers have realized just how much power and control they have lost, they seem to be going out of their way to claw it back. Combine that with the other companies that have lost out because they didn't get o

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      The quantity of time and energy these guys spend suing each other is staggering.

      Maybe if they spent the same amount of time, energy and money actually developing new products and technologies, we might not be in such a sad state of decline.

      And since it's the lobbyists who are writing the laws these days, and the "intellectual property" lobby is so strong, there really is no roadmap out of this mess.

      John Galt turned out to be a lazy bastard who has decided it's easier to force other companies to give you mon

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        John Galt turned out to be a lazy bastard who has decided it's easier to force other companies to give you money than it is to actually make something worthwhile yourself.

        Who was in charge when Yahoo did the same thing to Google? This looks like a tactic that has been used (abused?) over the years.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        John Galt turned out to be a lazy bastard who has decided it's easier to force other companies to give you money than it is to actually make something worthwhile yourself.

        Well, unfortunately he is right. In the US R&D is one of the worst places you can spend money. You get a much higher return from advertising and marketing, legal maneuvers, and lobbying.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          Well, unfortunately he is right. In the US R&D is one of the worst places you can spend money. You get a much higher return from advertising and marketing, legal maneuvers, and lobbying.

          So why would anybody be surprised when there are regular people who would rather collect a check than go to work?

          They learned it from the pros.

          And it's not the government's fault that our biggest corporations are the biggest mooches. It's just they way they're wired.

    • by trevelyon (892253)
      Hopefully some country will stand up and just say NO to all IP. No copyright, no patents, nothing. When that happens that will be the place to invent and produce things. Eventually, people will want crap that works at a fraction of the price and will just buy stuff there and take them back to their home countries. It may take a few more years to get this done but when the IP costs of manufacturing get to the 25% cost level this will become attractive. You can always export to patent abiding countries o
      • Germany seems to have pretty lax IP law, and IIRC they were discussing banning
        software patents about a decade ago (don't know what happened to that).

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      It's always been that way. Twenty years ago my then-brother in law worked at a factory producing cheap physical devices. The boss would bring a competing factory's widget and say "can we make one of these?" He would say "not without violating their patent." The boss' answer was always "that's why we have a legal department. Start making them."

  • Yahoo! The New SCO? Phonograph at 11 jim..

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yahoo *probably* put a bit of work into community and search... They cruised thru millions doing so...

      • by ae1294 (1547521) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:35PM (#39333395) Journal

        Then why not sue years ago when they had more money? Yahoo! is circling the bowl. We all know it....

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Maybe they're betting it will be easier for Facebook to buy them at an inflated price than to fight it out in court.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          Then why not sue years ago when they had more money? Yahoo! is circling the bowl. We all know it....

          Because when they had money, they didn't HAVE to sue to stay afloat. The money that they were spending on development was supposed to keep them in the black at this point in time. However, now that it is obvious that those duckies weren't in a neat row, they need to find another means of getting enough money to stay afloat - and what better company to hit up than Facebook?

          • Well, they did a lot of R&D all right.. On how to loose the crowd's interest and how not to
            do community policy. My main account was banned from yahoo answers years ago
            because apparently I was "infringing on community guidelines". After contacting them
            for more info they said I was "infringing on community guidelines". After a couple more
            mails I was informed that I was "infringing on community guidelines". A couple of
            telephone calls later I was "infringing on community guidelines".

            To this day I do not kno

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              Well, they did a lot of R&D all right.. On how to loose the crowd's interest

              Well, setting the crowd's interest free is a GOOD thing. You did say "loose", which means "set free". I must assume you actually meant what you wrote, since I don't know how to read minds.

    • Yahoo actually may have the basis for a legitimate lawsuit...

      • by decora (1710862) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:28PM (#39333305) Journal

        and im sorry but im guessing someone had a patent on 'selection of high quality linkage indicators in a computer network' if they looked hard enough.

        if yahoo has anything, it is a right to join the corrupt backstabbing club of big tech giants who are all shaking each other down with lawyers playing the role of 'knee-cap breaker'. its very similar to how the mafia controls a neighborhood. each 'family' has 'turf' and 'agreements' to get cuts of various businesses. and they are always fighting amongst each other and threatening to wipe each other out.

        meanwhile, ordinary people are just trying to build stuff, make a small profit, and live a normal life. not die with a mountain of cocaine piled on top of our desk.

      • It seems like from a strategic point of view, regardless of how valid the patents are, Facebook is in a much stronger position:

        As to Yahoo’s core business — investors consider it almost entirely worthless.
        And let’s not forget: Facebook could also sue right back, which it very well might do. Or, perhaps, cut off agreeable ties that have aided Yahoo in recent years.

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        that would require an actual list of infringed patents. neither this nor the article linked by TFA does this. does anyone have that list? otherwise, these reports are useless.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:21PM (#39333861)

        The article has a link to the suit - the patents all sound fairly generic:

        - Method and System for Optimal Placement of Advertisements on a Webpage [3 patents]
        - System and Method to Determine the Validity of an Interaction on a Network
        - Method and System for Customizing Views of Information Associated with a Social Network User
        - Control for Enabling a User to Preview Display of Selected Content Based on Another User's Authorization Level
        - Online Playback System with Community Bias
        - Dynamic Page Generator
        - World Modeling Using a Relationship Network with Communication Channels to Entities
        - System and Method for Instant Messaging Using an E-mail Protocol

        • by evanism (600676)

          "Dynamic Page Generator"... guess my work in 1994 with PERL excludes this one.

          • by syockit (1480393)

            The thing is even if it was, you can't be sure if that thing you wrote was generating a page by itself or was magically pulling it from other sources, since you have no means to make any sense out of it.

            Now if you were to write it again from scratch it will no longer be prior art

        • by Epimer (1337967)

          Modded +4 Informative for reciting the titles of a bunch of patents without any insight on their actual content. Sheesh.

        • >- Method and System for Optimal Placement of Advertisements on a Webpage [3 patents]

          Wait ... they have a patent on this ? Why the hell aren't they USING it then ! Seriously... have you seen what a yahoo site looks like without adblock ?

      • by Xtifr (1323) on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:22PM (#39333873) Homepage

        Post Bilski, that seems pretty improbable. Much as I may despise Facebook and don't care one way or the other about Yahoo, I'm not going to concede that anything involving pure software can ever qualify as the basis for a legitimate patent suit.

        • Post Bilski, that seems pretty improbable. Much as I may despise Facebook and don't care one way or the other about Yahoo, I'm not going to concede that anything involving pure software can ever qualify as the basis for a legitimate patent suit.

          You should read the Supreme Court's decision in Bilski, not just the Federal Circuit's decision. The Supreme Court threw out their narrower test, and so yes, it is theoretically possible that pure software could serve as the basis for a legitimate patent suit.

          But, that said, I haven't looked at these claims yet to see if they even are "pure software".

          • by Xtifr (1323)

            I have actually read the Supreme Court's decision in Re Bilski, which is why I said "improbable" rather than, say, "impossible". The SC didn't exactly "throw out" the machine-or-transformation test; they merely refused to affirm it as necessarily sufficient in all cases.

            The door is even technically still open for the test to be ruled sufficient in all cases. From page 9 of the decision (emphasis mine):

            The machine-or-transformation test may well provide a sufficient basis for evaluating processes similar to those in the Industrial Age—for example, inventions grounded in a physical or other tangible form. But there are reasons to doubt whether the test should be the sole criterion for determining the patentability of inventions in the Information Age.

            "Reasons to doubt" is a long way from saying "throw it out". Basically, the Supremes said that there may

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:25PM (#39333269)

    This is just more obvious trivial junk that should never have been given a patent in the first place.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So that's why you made your own search engine prior to Yahoo implementing these technologies? Oh right, just another freetard bleating about how these patents were "obvious" after-the-fact.

      • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:52PM (#39333555)

        Funny how 99.99% of all of the software and hardware you use every day was ineligible for patent protection or otherwise created without bothering with it. It's almost as if patents are just another economic racket associated with living in a lawyer-ridden society, or something.

      • by robbak (775424) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:53PM (#39333563) Homepage

        Yahoo was never a search engine. The were one of the "hand made index" school. When that idea proved unworkable, they started adding other's real search engine results to their indexed entries.

        • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:13PM (#39333799) Homepage Journal
          Technically, from 2004 to 2009 [wikipedia.org], Yahoo had its own results, which were actually pulled by a real crawler. Said crawler was originally a company they contracted from, Inktomi, but later bought. I remember this era brightly, because the results were so bad.
          • by Fluffeh (1273756)

            I find some of the timelines funny. Altavista returned better search results by far than Yahoo did (early mid nineties) but it ended up being gobbled up by Yahoo anyhow, due to the vast cash they had. Now, Yahoo is a long way down struggle street and they are suing Facebook for lack of other straws to clutch at.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The patents in question are for a technique (not the general idea, general ideas are not patentable) for ordering and presenting ads on a web page based on a user's past actions. The techniques specified in the patent are an assemblage of well known patterns to simple problems. This assemblage is indeed obvious to any skilled practioner.

        Good patents for non-obvious innovations that further the state of the art are needed, but these Yahoo patents ain't them. The patent system is supposed to be setup so that

        • by Epimer (1337967)

          "The patent system is supposed to be setup so that if a skilled practitioner looks at patented invention he'll say "damn, how did they implement that?"."

          This is subtly incorrect, though. Most inventive step tests are based around the idea of asking if the ordinary skilled person would arrive at the solution provided by the patented invention *without* knowledge of it. That is, to look at the prior art, look at the problem to be solved, and then determining if the ordinary skilled person armed with common ge

        • The patents in question are for a technique (not the general idea, general ideas are not patentable) for ordering and presenting ads on a web page based on a user's past actions. The techniques specified in the patent are an assemblage of well known patterns to simple problems. This assemblage is indeed obvious to any skilled practioner.

          Obviousness is a legal conclusion, however, that must be supported by evidence. Just as a judge cannot say, "even though I have no evidence, I'm going to find you guilty of murder," a judge (or patent examiner) cannot say, "even though I have no evidence, I'm going to find your claimed invention obvious."
          If it's obvious, then you should be able to find evidence showing that the technique was known in the art. Prior patents, publications, products, white papers, functional specs, etc. Otherwise, it's just an unsupported conclusion.

          Good patents for non-obvious innovations that further the state of the art are needed, but these Yahoo patents ain't them. The patent system is supposed to be setup so that if a skilled practitioner looks at patented invention he'll say "damn, how did they implement that?" Then, in turn for revealing the implementation, the inventor is granted legal protection for a period of time.

          Not exactly. The skilled practitioner may never have even thought of the implementation, but after the fact, it may be relatively trivial. For example, most engineers today could design an internal combustion engine on the back of an envelope in 5 minutes. They're not the most complicated devices in the world... Does that mean they weren't patentable in the 1800s? Of course not.

          You're right about the public disclosure, but it's not in exchange for revealing a ground-breaking new idea - it's in exchange for revealing any new idea that's not obvious, at the time of invention... it can certainly be obvious in hindsight, but that's irrelevant. The point is that if there's no evidence from the time of invention showing that it was obvious, the patent should issue.

          Anybody with a background in Comp Sci or Engineering could be given the problem background described in these Yahoo patents and come up with almost identical implmentations, because THERE IS NOT INVENTION OR INNOVATION TAKING PLACE, its just well known technologies being applied in obvious patterns! That is not invention as described in the charter of the patent office, yet the patent office issues thousands of similar flimsy patents every year. /end_rant

          Cool. Find us publications existing at the time of filing of the patent application showing that those technologies were well known. Or even known by a single person outside of Yahoo. If you can do that, you can invalidate the patent.

      • by LizardKing (5245) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @06:49AM (#39336907)

        So that's why you made your own search engine prior to Yahoo implementing these technologies?

        Yahoo! isn't a search engine. It was originally a hand edited directory of websites, and the true search engine was licensed (from AltaVista and Google amongst others). Their code was a horrendous mess of C modules running on many different hacked up versions of Apache and it crashed with shocking frequency. The only reason the site stayed up was because each Apache instance was largely autonomous and individual machines could be rebooted as necessary. The backend was no more stable, often running with the data in shared memory on FreeBSD machines that would also require regular rebooting since they were using crazy kernel configurations.

        Amusingly, given their lack of project management processes, a few years ago they switched to PHP as their preferred development platform. I'm sure this has resulted in another clusterfuck.

  • A Pattern (Score:4, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Monday March 12, 2012 @07:37PM (#39333411)

    Yahoo typically likes to bring suit at the time a large IPO is going on figuring that this is when a company is most likely to bend over rather than have a stain on the IPO.

    They did the same thing to Google.

    I'm glad that Facebook didn't knuckle under and is going to fight. Ideally the end result will be a financial loss to Yahoo.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Before time began, there was the patant.
    We know not where it comes from, only that it holds the power to create lawyers and fill them with life.
    That is how our corporation was born.
    For a time, we lived in harmony,
    but like all great power,
    some wanted it for good, others for evil.

    And so began the war.

  • 'Yahoo! has invested substantial resources in research and development through the years', so "new CEO Scott Thompson is planning to lay off workers in public relations, marketing, research...." [zdnet.com] [stop reading here].
  • Yahoo! Is never going to be cool again. Let's cash out.

    Facebook is a bubble let's cash out.
  • by OMG (669971)

    I have taken the time to read through some of their earlier patents cited in the law suit. "Intelligent placement of adds", likelihood of clicks etc. This is so ... innovatiive?
    Any of those guys and patent lawyers ever worked in the "real world"? Just because you do something that has been done all the time on the web it's not automatically an innovation.

    • by rgbrenner (317308)

      I'll play along. Name one company using text ads in February 1998.. go ahead.. I'll wait.

      In February 1998 (7 months before Google was started) there was a company called GoTo.com. They were renamed to Overture, and then eventually sold to Yahoo.

      Those text ads you see on Google, Facebook, etc. Guess who created those.

    • by BBrown (70466)

      Did you read the claims? Because that's what defines the scope of the patent. Not the abstract or title.

  • by tenco (773732) on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:17PM (#39333831)

    popcorn

  • Hopefully they don't sell what they get from fb too fast like they did with G shares long back....
  • ... numerous patented inventions of technology that other companies have licensed

    What they really mean but won't say: ... a bunch of bogus patents we did exchange licensing for licenses for other bogus patents were we going to be sued over.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:35PM (#39333991) Homepage Journal

    Suppose some entity puts all of their software patents into a pool. For the sake of argument, let's say Google and IBM get together and pool all of their software patents into a sort of "co-op". Anyone who is a member of the co-op gets to use any and all the patents in the pool, royalty free.

    Then they open up membership in the co-op.

    Anyone who wants can join the co-op, with the following requirements:
    1) They donate their own software patents (if any) to the pool
    2) They agree not to sue any other co-op member over a software patent

    And the following benefits:
    1) They can use any patent in the pool royalty free
    2) They won't be sued by anyone else in the co-op

    Here's the best part: you can be a member of the co-op even if you *don't* have patents to donate. Membership is open to anyone - engineers, lawyers, businessmen... anyone.

    With the big players taking the lead (Google and IBM in our example), everyone can now charge more or pay less, based on whether the other party is a co-op member.

    Engineer looking for a job? We offer higher salaries to members of the co-op.

    Vendor looking to sell? We discount our rates for members of the co-op.

    Everyone in the group could adjust their prices depending on whether the other party is a member. The price adjustment reflects the "cost of doing business" with a particular class of people. The same as charging higher health insurance rates for smokers, or higher car insurance rates to teenagers.

    Mark Twain once wrote about a small group of riverboat captains who banded together in this way, and effectively forced everyone to join their union. Initially no outsider wanted to join, but the members all agreed *not* to work with anyone who was not also a member. Captains found it easier to join the union than turn down a work opportunity.

    The co-op model would also help stifle vague and overreaching patents. If someone in the co-op is sued (by an outsider), the member can refer to similar patents from the co-op which cover the same idea. Since in theory two patents cannot cover the same idea, the member can claim that the usage falls more within the co-op description than the troll-patent description.

    If people could do this and stick to their guns, we would eliminate software patents in a couple of years.

    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday March 12, 2012 @08:57PM (#39334185)

      First, I'm not 100% certain such a co-op would be legal in all cases, but aside from that it wouldn't matter in all the most important cases. See, the real patent trolls are those who don't even have a product, only a patent: the co-op is powerless against them, since they have no leverage (remember, the troll isn't using any patent or possible patent, he only "owns" them), while the troll can patent nearly anything, which means there will always be something the co-op members could get sued for (it just isn't possible for them to cover everything themselves).

      So while a decent idea, in theory, I doubt very much it would actually work. It might prevent this suit, but really this suit isn't one of the really egregious cases anyways (except insofar as software patents are bullshit).

      Plus, in the extreme opposite direction, Apple has far too much clout to be bowed by such a co-op, and I suspect there would be others who are too powerful as well (Microsoft, perhaps) and without the ability to force everyone to join, it won't ultimately be effective.

      • 1) Patent trolls who don't have a product are in no position to threaten a large company. Except in the unusual case of an SCO whose litigation is funded by a major corporation, they can't afford to bring a proper lawsuit.
        2) The purpose of cooperation is analogous to the NATO alliance. Yes, Microsoft and Apple are large and would risk a strategically sound suit against Google, risking an equivalent counter-suit. But they wouldn't dare attack a member of a co-op, which would retaliate with a massive numbe

        • 1) Patent trolls who don't have a product are in no position to threaten a large company. Except in the unusual case of an SCO whose litigation is funded by a major corporation, they can't afford to bring a proper lawsuit.

          Eolas?

      • Alternative is to set up/support a puppet company to sue for them. MS did this with SCO, I'm pretty sure I read about Apple doing this too..

    • by tomhath (637240)
      I sent a suggestion to Google a while ago. My idea was to have a public repository of ideas. Any idea that was published in it would thus become prior art and could be used against stupid patents. I have no clue if that would actually work, IANAL, etc. Google never wrote back to me...
    • Suppose some entity puts all of their software patents into a pool.

      You have just described the open invention network:

      http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/ [openinventionnetwork.com]

      • As far as I can tell, OpenInvention has no no way to economically (as in "money") encourage membership. It's entirely voluntary.

        For this to work, you need the economic incentives. As in the Mark Twain story, if members were allowed to work with non-members, then the union would fail.

        The system only worked because the union members banded together to say that they would not work with a non-member. Non-members found it less hassle to join than lose the opportunity.

        Additionally, a company can advertize a disco

    • First problem: someone has to govern this pool. Why? Well you need someone to determine if a member of the pool has broken the rules or not (ie. peed in the pool). So who's going to govern this pool? First, it'll probably be a lawyer, but on top of that, it'll probably end up being whoever has the largest stake in the pool (so in your case, it'll be Google/IBM). This means that their competitors (say, MS and Apple) probably aren't going to end up joining because there's no reason in hell why they'd want to

  • by million_monkeys (2480792) on Monday March 12, 2012 @09:25PM (#39334399)

    Here are links to the 10 patents discussed in the case. I made it partway through one of them before I decided to go have a beer instead. Maybe someone else has more patience.

    6,907,566 [patents.com] Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage
    7,100,111 [patents.com] Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage
    7,373,599 [patents.com] Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage
    7,668,861 [patents.com] System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a network
    7,269,590 [patents.com] Method and system for customizing views of information associated with a social network user
    7,599,935 [patents.com] Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user's authorization level
    7,454,509 [patents.com] Online playback system with community bias
    5,983,227 [patents.com] Dynamic page generator
    7,747,648 [patents.com] World modeling using a relationship network with communication channels to entities
    7,406,501 [patents.com] System and method for instant messaging using an e-mail protocol

    • by evanism (600676)

      5,983,227 [patents.com] Dynamic page generator , I remember Netscape doing what this patent describes with the launch of HTML 3.2 FRAMES back in.... hmmm, 1995 or 1996.

      They pitched it to me when they released it. It had customised weather, sports, all that jazz. Ugly as hell, but at least 2 years ahead of this patent.

    • by rgbrenner (317308) on Monday March 12, 2012 @10:50PM (#39335001)

      Those first 3 were from Yahoo's acquisition of Overture -- the company that invented the text ads that google uses. Overture was originally named GoTo.com, and was started in February 1998 -- 7 months before Google was founded.

      So Yahoo may have a real case here.

  • If you can't innovate, litigate.
  • by ehiris (214677)

    This is Karma for turning our Facebook photos into billboards for "sponsored" ads.

  • This might be stating the obvious, but it looks like Yahoo wont be around for much longer. Looking at the current state of things, one could deduce the following lifecycle for a company:

    1) Found Company
    2) Innovate
    3) Profit
    4) Rest and watch the competition overtake you while profits decrease.
    5) Start suing everyone around you for patent infringement
    6) Bankrupcy

    Yahoo is at step 5 now.

    • Re:Company Lifecycle (Score:4, Interesting)

      by silentcoder (1241496) on Tuesday March 13, 2012 @05:53AM (#39336771) Homepage

      Actually step 4 is wrong. What really happens is a few steps:

      4) Go public
      5) Discover that the people who now control your company have absolutely no incentive in it's long-term survival but every incentive to make their shares worth more next quarter.
      6) Fire the founder and appoint a new CEO (unless the founder plays ball - 96% of them get fired).
      7) Make a lot of moves that give massive short term profit boosts by effectively selling off the very assets that made your company a success in the first place - mass layoffs for example.
      8) Report a record profit
      9) Watch as all those share-holders sell their pricey stocks - the price now comes back down
      10) Discover that without good staff you can't make good products. Stagnate while competition forges ahead.

      Continue with your original step 5.

    • Gotta hand it to Apple, they're doing steps 2, 3, and a bit of 5 simultaneously *

      * Reasoning:
      2) Ignore the revolutionary vs evolutionary technology debate, they are following the accepted definition of "innovation"
      3) Obvious
      4) doesn't apply; Apple's not resting on their laurels, and while competition is catching up or surpassing them in some areas, their profits are not decreasing
      5) lawsuits are against key players, not everyone under the sun

  • All those guys who laughed at Geocities with over use of blinking letters and the icon for "Under construction" are already suffering enough by having to look at the hideous things on the facebook walls. But this is going to prove beyond doubt geocities was a just a decade before its time.
  • I don't want Yahoo mail via AT&T so why am I being given no choice?

    I suspect Yahoos numbers are biased... just like Microsoft does in reporting sales of Windows.

  • You managed to buy up a good number of software companies that you ran into the ground. Your reputation has turned sour and your invention wheels have stopped. The internet is evolving. Please die quietly and rest peacefully. For no matter what you decide, you will always be a dying brand to us.

    Sincerely,
    The Internet

    P.S. Thanks for Geocities!

COBOL is for morons. -- E.W. Dijkstra

Working...