Feeds

Yahoo! threatens! Facebook! with! patent! spanking!

Pay up or see us in court! yells Yahoo!

Reducing security risks from open source software

Like certain other tech companies that have failed to keep up with rivals' innovations, Yahoo! is resorting to a patent battle to top up its revenues.

The web firm is trying to persuade Facebook to license ten to 20 of its patents that deal with advertising, personalisation of web pages, social networking and messaging, people briefed with the matter leaked to the New York Times.

The two companies were apparently chatting about the issue on Monday, when Yahoo! told Facebook that the social network was infringing these patents and it better pay up or Yahoo! would see it in court! Or words to that effect.

“Yahoo! has a responsibility to its shareholders, employees and other stakeholders to protect its intellectual property,” a Yahoo! spokesman told the NYT. “We must insist that Facebook either enter into a licensing agreement or we will be compelled to move forward unilaterally to protect our rights.”

Facebook is not impressed by Yahoo!, judging by this catty statement to El Reg:

Yahoo! contacted us at the same time they called the New York Times and so we haven't had the opportunity to fully evaluate their claims.

The smartphone and fondleslab sectors have been rocked by patent battles as big manufacturers and OS builders grab as much of the lucrative market as possible. But social networking has until now been blessedly free of legal machinations.

Yahoo! has been pretty hard-up for the last few years, eating Google and upstart web firms' dust as its popularity waned, particularly in the US. The web firm has been pursuing a number of options to try to turn itself around, including selling all or some of itself off.

Of course, if Yahoo! could squeeze a load of money out of Facebook and other social networks in patent licences or legal damages for infringement, it might not need to sell itself off, which would be a much happier situation for it.

But it's a pretty nasty time to be springing this on Facebook, since the social network is unlikely to want to get into a litigation battle right before it goes public, an event that's expected in the next few weeks. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.