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Facebook Countersues Yahoo Over 10 Patents 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the hoist-with-your-own-petard dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As expected, Facebook today filed its own patent infringement lawsuit against Yahoo. The social networking giant is claiming the online giant infringes on 10 of its patents. This is a countersuit and will likely lead to some sort of settlement between the two parties. Facebook says Yahoo is infringing on a wide range of its services, including its homepage, content optimization, relevance engine, Flickr photo-sharing service, and advertising throughout the service. Two months ago, Yahoo threatened Facebook with patent war. Last month, the online giant sued the social networking giant over 10 patents and the technology industry made sure to criticize Yahoo like never before."
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Facebook Countersues Yahoo Over 10 Patents

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  • Yahoo has been here since the dinosaurs roamed the web i cant see how FB a relative noob business can out patent Yahoo. Yahoo has has personal profiles forever with ads plastered all over the place. Yahoo has had gaming and the list goes on. FB isnt even public yet "Nor should they be". Time will tell i guess.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Facebook bought some patents recently from IBM. Some suggest it was for the purpose of negotiating with Yahoo who was cross licensing them from IBM. Facebook is saying yo biatch, look what we own, do you want to reconsider those terms you gave us for those other patents you claim we are infringing on?


    • 1) Buy existing patents noone knows/cares about
      2) Sue competitors for infringment
      3) ???
      4) Profit!

      The company with the most spare cash and best patent lawyers wins!
    • I've seen those pattents. I especially liked the one called:
      "How to lose millions of users - across the all your products - to Google®, while focusing on share prices"

      Do you think Yahoo are seeing the future here?
      Or suing the future here?

      • Do you think Yahoo are seeing the future here? Or suing the future here?

        Depends if they're the Yahoo's from New Zealand!

  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:03PM (#39567929)

    I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I am so damned sick of world + dog patenting... welll, everything.

    It's just ridiculous.

    I KNOW there are patents out there for (software) things that are nontrivial .. things that are actually not obvious to any reasonably skilled practitioner of the software arts, but I'm sick to death of these "a method of derpa derp ta derpa derp involving a database to store derpaderp present derp a derp ta derpaderp"

    I wish like hell we could just invalidate every software and business method patent and say "you did something special, FINE, copyright your code, but patents are going back to being about physical stuff" /rant

    sorry, just annoyed like the rest of you.

    • by Galestar (1473827)
      Hence why I am actively working on my own patents.
      If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
    • I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but I am so damned sick of world + dog patenting... welll, everything.

      It's just ridiculous.

      I KNOW there are patents out there for (software) things that are nontrivial .. things that are actually not obvious to any reasonably skilled practitioner of the software arts, but I'm sick to death of these "a method of derpa derp ta derpa derp involving a database to store derpaderp present derp a derp ta derpaderp"

      I wish like hell we could just invalidate every software and business method patent and say "you did something special, FINE, copyright your code, but patents are going back to being about physical stuff" /rant

      sorry, just annoyed like the rest of you.

      I am me, and I approve of this rant (because it is already modded up to the max, so I can't give it a +1 anything).

      • Zontar also holds the rant in high regard, and also relinquishes his chance to moderate this discussion in honour of said rant.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nobody wants to give away their secret sauce recipe by explaining it in a patent that can be understood! That would be commercial suicide. Better to keep the secret and leave others to figure out how you did it.

      So they patent mini tangential stuff in the most vague terms possible. I have yet to read a useful patent from the last decade. A 'this is how to make this thing' that somebody can use to make that thing. They're all just a pile of lawyer garbage at this point.

      Yet another burden on business, yet anot

      • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:47AM (#39568677)
        Yep, if a reasonably skilled person in the specific industry cannot understand the patent and create the described invention then the patent should be invalid.
        • by Epimer (1337967)

          Good thing this is exactly the case, then!

          Look up "sufficiency" and "enablement" - lacking sufficient information for the person of ordinary skill in the art to work the claimed invention is grounds for invalidity in the US and other jurisdictions.

          • by penix1 (722987)

            Which is exactly why they are so broad that anyone can do it simply by breathing.

        • And at the same time if a reasonably skilled person in the specific industry is found to have duplicated the described invention without recourse to the patent, then the patent should be invalid.

          Willful infringement should be the only way to lose a patent suit, in other words. Otherwise, yes, the patent does, indeed, cover something "obvious."

    • by Grayhand (2610049) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @01:15AM (#39568789)
      Darwinism needs to take over. Remove all government funding for law school tutition and the schools themselves except for those that agree to commit 10 or more years to civil service. Change the rules so if a lawsuit is declared frivolous then the party being sued can counter sue for 10X the amount sought. Regulate lawyers as in place a strict limit on the number of lawyers allowed to practice. We have more than the rest of the world put together so there are obviously too many. Limit lawyer fees to time and expenses plus 10%. Limit corporate lawsuits to actual losses plus legal fees. Limit the number of times some one can take the bar. Sorry but some take it for years and even in rare cases decades before they pass. I doubt they hang a sign on their wall that it took five tries to pass the bar. The point is to limit lawsuits and improve the quality of the lawyers that remain. Okay here are scary numbers. There were 1,143,358 lawyers in the US in 2007 but only 751,000 farmers in 2008. There are significantly more lawyers than farmers. Farmers contribute food. Lawyers contribute headaches.
      • by evilRhino (638506)
        I don't see what your solution has to do with genetic variability created by natural selection, since this is clearly an artificially generated scenario. Call it anything else you like, but don't call it Darwinism. Personally, I favor a social anarchists solution whereby monopolies granted by patents are not allowed because they cost more to society than the value they provide.
      • No doubt there are many hardworking lawyers who provide excellent services. As with any profession of course. But that's why I personally have been against all the government bloat. All it does it rob from human resources and created an entirely compartmentalized political class. I don't see how this is sustainable for society.

    • by Lando (9348)

      I have worked with several companies over the years. The interactions I have had with patents have all been negative. Two companies I have worked with, basically start-ups, were put out of business by patents. One of the companies won their defense against the patent troll, but didn't have enough money to go back to court to get the injunction lifted. Patents may seem like a good idea, but it seems to me in actual practice that rarely will you have anyone that actually gets paid for having a patent,

    • by MrManny (1026106)

      I agree with you there 101%. Also, I think you should file a patent for the derpaderp-method as described above. There seems to be no prior art for this. ;-)

      Anywho. What shocks me here is that most of the patents are actually similar to the point of being almost equal, except someone used Search & Replace to replace one circumstance/media/younameit with another. Granted, I only read the tl;dr versions, but most of these seem to read "personalize content based on user profile." Apparently, this idea is s

    • Careful, you just might get what you ask for and the copyright side is as bad or worse - the code would be locked up forever.

    • by cvtan (752695)
      You forgot "on the internet...".
    • by coofercat (719737)

      I have to have a 'double-take' when I see patent warz over some backend function that isn't in a product. I mean, how does anyone know how anyone's "relevance engine" works, or even that they have one?

      Now, if someone was buying or selling said "relevance engine", then I could see the problem - even just selling the software design could be understandable. However, making something that does roughly the same thing as someone else - whilst completely isolated from them - doesn't seem like it's worthy of prote

    • I still have a hard time being convinced that patents don't just limit the potential of human technology...
  • by tomhath (637240) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @10:07PM (#39567957)
    A great new game. It sends out updates all day long "Yahoo just sued Facebook"..."Facebook just sued Yahoo"..."Apple just sued itself"...
  • Yahoo threatened war. I hope they counter counter sue and this blows up into something huge. Anything that puts more attention on just how silly these patents are becoming has to be a good thing. If FB loses on any of this and has to change their interface then it's millions of users will start to take notice.

    • by tycoex (1832784)

      The only problem is I don't see stuff like this really getting any attention outside the "geek/nerd" communities. Even the Apple patent cases, which are the most widely publicized from what I can tell, aren't really well known to people who don't care about their cell phone brand.

      • I dont think you understand the point of what was said. If Apple lost a touch screen patent war and the iPhone 5 nolonger had a touch screen as a result, their customers would probably notice. They would also notice when all the iPhone 4S's were banned from import.
        • the ONLY touch screen patents I'd consider valid are purely those on how to make a touch screen... anything that involves gestures and other Apple bullcarp should NOT be valid as they are pure software and should NOT be patentable... adding "with a touchscreen" should NOT be grounds for a patent being granted...

          to put it plainly... I'm fscking p1ssed off with you Yanks and your stupid software patents... I'm waiting for someone to come up with the cajones to actually get software patents per se outlawed an

    • by mug funky (910186)

      FB's millions of users will see their home page looking different, then go "fuck you, Facebook", and after a short time learning the new interface, will continue doing what they always did.

  • Yahoo danced and Facebook danced back, so now it's ON!
  • FB and Yahoo! are having love spats, and Y! is still on the market. FB could do with a really good newsfeed and an open imaging hosting solution as opposed to the inetrnal one which often often doesn't work if you are not logged in.

  • by electron sponge (1758814) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @11:04PM (#39568239)
    I'll be very happy when corporate controlled social networking dies a natural death and there is an open-source, easily manageable solution for attention whores.
    • by wanzeo (1800058)

      I'll be very happy when corporate controlled social networking dies a natural death and there is an open-source, easily manageable solution for attention whores.

      You know what is hilariously ironic about that statement? Slashdot is a corporate controlled social networking platform, and has been since long before Rob left. Only after this community is able to produce an open-source, easily manageable, non-corporate alternative will I begin to pay attention to people who claim that Facebook is replaceable.

      • You know what is hilariously ironic about that statement? Slashdot is a corporate controlled social networking platform, and has been since long before Rob left.

        That's a long stretch. Slashdot has always been a forum. To call Slashdot social networking is to also roll up the BBS and Newsgroups into that same category as well. Truly, social networking started out with the individual blogs and then someone came long and grouped them up together and published them in a way that interacts with each other. That

  • by SockPuppetOfTheWeek (1910282) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @11:07PM (#39568249) Journal

    What, who said anything about Google?

    Oh, Yahoo!. Yahoo! is hardly an "online giant". More like an online joke. A wanna-be.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @11:15PM (#39568283)

    Here are the 10 patents Facebook is suing Yahoo with [zdnet.com]

    U.S. Patent No. 7,827,208 — “Generating a feed of stories personalized for members of a social network” – Filed on August 11, 2006, and granted November 2, 2010.

    U.S. Patent No. 7,945,653 — “Tagging digital media” – Filed on October 11, 2006, and granted May 17, 2011.

    U.S. Patent No. 6,288,717 — “Headline posting algorithm” – Filed on May 19, 1999, and granted September 11, 2001.

    U.S. Patent No. 6,216,133 — “Method for enabling a user to fetch a specific information item from a set of information items, and a system for carrying out such a method” – Filed on May 30, 1996, and granted April 10, 2001.

    U.S. Patent No. 6,411,949 — “Customizing database information for presentation with media selections” – Filed on August 12, 1999, and granted June 25, 2002.

    U.S. Patent No. 6,236,978 — “ System and method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications” – Filed on November 14, 1997, and granted May 22, 2001.

    U.S. Patent No. 7,603,331 — “ System and method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications and for validating user rules” – Filed on March 7, 2005, and granted October 13, 2009.

    U.S. Patent No. 8,103,611 — “ Architectures, systems, apparatus, methods, and computer-readable medium for providing recommendations to users and applications using multidimensional data” – Filed on September 3, 2009, and granted January 24, 2012.

    U.S. Patent No. 8,005,896 — “System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network” – Filed on June 17, 2010, and granted August 23, 2011.

    U.S. Patent No. 8,150,913 — “System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network” – Filed on August 22, 2011, and granted April 3, 2012.

    It's nice to see Facebook is able to reach back to 1996 for its patent protection, isn't it?

    • U.S. Patent No. 7,945,653 — “Tagging digital media” – Filed on October 11, 2006, and granted May 17, 2011.

      Abstract:

      A method for tagging digital media is described. The method includes selecting a digital media and selecting region within the digital media. The method may further include associating a person or entity with the selected region and sending a notification of the association the person or entity or a different person or entity. The method may further include sending adv

      • by dido (9125)

        Flickr was bought by Yahoo in 2005, so they are in the front lines.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Preaching to the choir probably, but here goes.

        Problems should never be patentable, only specific solutions to the problem described in a reproducable way.

    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @11:50PM (#39568421)

      Here are the 10 patents Facebook is suing Yahoo with [zdnet.com]

      U.S. Patent No. 7,827,208 — “Generating a feed of stories personalized for members of a social network” – Filed on August 11, 2006, and granted November 2, 2010.

      U.S. Patent No. 7,945,653 — “Tagging digital media” – Filed on October 11, 2006, and granted May 17, 2011.

      U.S. Patent No. 6,288,717 — “Headline posting algorithm” – Filed on May 19, 1999, and granted September 11, 2001.

      U.S. Patent No. 6,216,133 — “Method for enabling a user to fetch a specific information item from a set of information items, and a system for carrying out such a method” – Filed on May 30, 1996, and granted April 10, 2001.

      U.S. Patent No. 6,411,949 — “Customizing database information for presentation with media selections” – Filed on August 12, 1999, and granted June 25, 2002.

      U.S. Patent No. 6,236,978 — “ System and method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications” – Filed on November 14, 1997, and granted May 22, 2001.

      U.S. Patent No. 7,603,331 — “ System and method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications and for validating user rules” – Filed on March 7, 2005, and granted October 13, 2009.

      U.S. Patent No. 8,103,611 — “ Architectures, systems, apparatus, methods, and computer-readable medium for providing recommendations to users and applications using multidimensional data” – Filed on September 3, 2009, and granted January 24, 2012.

      U.S. Patent No. 8,005,896 — “System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network” – Filed on June 17, 2010, and granted August 23, 2011.

      U.S. Patent No. 8,150,913 — “System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network” – Filed on August 22, 2011, and granted April 3, 2012.

      It's nice to see Facebook is able to reach back to 1996 for its patent protection, isn't it?

      According to Ars, several (possibly 8, not confirmed) of the patents were purchased by Facebook since Yahoo sued them.

      • So Yahoo owes Facebook nothing up until the time Facebook purchased the patents... a few weeks at most?
      • ... this like a battle of the stupidest trick. Each side is pulling out it's tricks and trying to beat the other with a trick more obvious than the last.
      • Facebook only owned 56 parents at the end of 2011 - that's why they were such a tempting target for Yahoo - no real prospect of a big countersuit. They must have shit a brick when they heard Facebook had purchased 750 patents from IBM out of the blue.
      • by thejynxed (831517)

        U.S. Patent No. 6,216,133 - "Method for enabling a user to fetch a specific information item from a set of information items, and a system for carrying out such a method" - Filed on May 30, 1996, and granted April 10, 2001.

        Sounds to me like every search function ever implemented in software. This is one of the vaguest, most obtuse descriptions for a patent I've ever read. Like another poster said, you can virtually pick and choose words to swap out like it's a frakking Madlib. At this point, Yahoo! could take that word for word, and add "on the internet", and get awarded a patent.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @06:16AM (#39569683) Homepage

    It needs to be very ugly and nasty. It needs to be the catalyst that starts patent reform to eliminate software patents.

    It stifles creativity and progress.

  • # Returns anti-patents neccessary to keep business from suing each other for patent infringement.

    def generate_antipatents():

    patents = []

    for business in all_businesses:

    patents.append("Sue " + business + " for patent infringement.")

    return patents

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