Yahoo! Inc. is an American multinational internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, United States. It is one of the largest websites in the United States. Since 1994 Yahoo! has grown to become a premiere digital media and communications company. With time Yahoo! Has diversified its product offerings beyond its original directory of websites. For example: Yahoo! has launched My Yahoo! Page which allows users to combine their favorite Yahoo content feed into single page. Yahoo! Has also began web hosting through Yahoo! Geocities, online gaming through Yahoo! Games and discussion boards known as Yahoo! Groups. In addition to these Yahoo! Has made significant investments in the field of internet social networks. Yahoo! Launched its blogging and social networking site Yahoo! 360˚, photo sharing and social networking website Flickr with its another social networking services such as Yahoo! Mash, Yahoo! Pulse and Yahoo! Profiles. Other applications released by Yahoo! Include Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Pager, comprehensive network of online products including news, finance, social networking, sports, e-mail, search, instant messaging and shopping, etc. thus being a leading communication, commerce and media company offering a comprehensive branded networks of services to users worldwide. Whereas Facebook is a social networking service and website, operated and privately owned by Facebook Inc. having more than 900 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as “People from Work” or “Close Friends”, etc.
Yahoo! Has sued Facebook for infringing its 10 patents viz. U.S. Patent No. 6,907,566 (“566 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,100,111 (“111 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,373,599 (“599 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,668,861 (“861 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,269,590 (“590 patent”), U.S. Patent No. 7,599,935 (“935 patent”), U.S. Patent No.7, 454,509 (“509 patent”), U.S. Patent No.5, 983,227 (“227 patent”), U.S. Patent No.7, 747,468 (“468”) and U.S. Patent No.7, 406,501 (“501”).
The case is based on that Yahoo innovated on several fronts, including messaging; news feed generation, social commenting advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls, etc.
Facebook infringe and continues to infringe Yahoo!’s following patents:
- Yahoo!’s advertising patent’s (“566, 111 and 599 patent”) claim methods and systems for advertising, placing advertisements on a web page through its advertising platform, Facebook Ads.
- Yahoo! Patent (“861 patent”) entitled “System and method to determine the validity of an interaction on a network” claiming system and method for classifying a user interaction on a network.
- Yahoo! Privacy patent (“590 and 935 patent”) claiming the methods and systems for managing the display of social network user information so that users can preserve personal privacy have been infringed by Facebook through its privacy controls.
- Yahoo! Customization patents (“509 and 227 patent”) claiming methods and systems for creating custom data streams and web pages for users based on community and user preferences has been infringed by facebook through Facebook News Feed and Facebook Wall.
- Yahoo! Social networking patent (“648 patents”) claiming a method and system uses a world model containing entity models for, among other things, people and businesses. Facebook infringes its patent through Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups.
- Lastly Facebook infringes Yahoo!’s Messaging patent (“501 Patent”) claiming a method and system for allowing an instant messenger user to exchange messages with an e-mail user through Facebook messaging.
Facebook has denied all its allegations and also alleges that Facebook take a license to the “599 patent” among others.
With this Round 2 of patent battle continues with Facebook alleging that Yahoo! has infringed its following United States Patents:
- U.S Patent 7,827,208 (“208 patent”) entitled “Generating a feed of stories personalized for members of a social network” through recent activity and groups activity on the Yahoo! Flickr photo sharing service.
- Facebook U.S Patent 7,945,653 (“653 patent”) entitled “Tagging digital media” has been infringed by Yahoo! through people in photo feature on the Yahoo! Flickr photo sharing service.
- Facebook U.S. Patent 6,288,717 (“717” patent) entitled “Headline posting algorithms” through using it without limitation the Yahoo! Home Page (www.yahoo.com) and all other Yahoo! home pages that use C.O.R.E. to identify items for display.
- Facebook U.S. Patent 6,216,133, 6,411,949, 6,236,978, 7,603,33 and 8,103,611(“133, 949, 978, 331 and 611” patent) have been infringed by Yahoo! through ads displayed on Yahoo! pages including, by way of example only, ads displayed on My Yahoo!, Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Games, Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! Shopping, Yahoo! Travel, Yahoo! Autos and the Flickr photo sharing service.
- Yahoo! Infringes Facebook U.S. Patent 8,005,896and 8,150,913(“896 and 913” patent) entitled “System for Controlled Distribution of User Profiles Over a Network” through using without limitation the ability to establish relationships with other users and set privacy settings on the Yahoo! Flickr photo sharing service.
After these allegations Yahoo! has now denied the claims and accused Facebook of engaging in unfair tactics and also said that Facebook violated an agreement between the two companies to notify each other of possible patent infringements before going to court.
If Yahoo! Is the actual patent holder of such features then let justice be served in their favor. On the other hand patenting of such technology simply hampers the development of new technologies.