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Yahoo adds two more patents to Facebook lawsuit

updated 06:25 pm EDT, Fri April 27, 2012

Now alleges 12 patent violations by Facebook

The patent struggle between Yahoo and Facebook took another turn today, with Yahoo adding two more patents to its list of alleged infringements by Facebook. The move, which brings the total number of alleged Facebook infringements to 12, came in response to Facebook's own countersuit against Yahoo, in which the social network claimed that Yahoo had infringed on 10 Facebook patents.

The two patents added to Yahoo's suit today cover a "system and method to determine the validity of and interaction on a network" and a "system and method allowing advertisers to manage search listings in a pay-for-placement search system using grouping."

Yahoo's suit against Facebook, filed in March of this year, claims that Facebook knowingly infringed on Yahoo patents involving privacy measures, messaging, tracking and verifying of ad hits, and social networking. In addition to past royalties and tripled damages, Yahoo seeks an ongoing royalty, as well as a permanent ban on future infringement, which could force Facebook into significant restructuring of its site or into a complete shut down.

Facebook's countersuit alleges that Yahoo violated 10 of Facebook's own patents, including patents for tagging photos and videos, personalized feds, recommendations, headline creation, user profiles, and getting or customizing database information. In speaking to the press, representatives for the social network have expressed disappointment in Yahoo's legal action, arguing that Facebook wants to maintain a friendly relationship with the struggling search company.

The legal struggle began shortly after talks between the erstwhile strategic partners broke down, with Yahoo demanding a licensing agreement with the social network and Facebook reluctant to sign on to any such agreement. Some observers view the Yahoo lawsuit as an attempt at securing a lucrative revenue source in perpetuity ahead of Facebook's upcoming IPO.

Perhaps spurred on by Yahoo's action, Facebook was rumored to have bought 750 patents from IBM in March, and may buy an additional 650 patents from AOL, though none of those are included in its current infringement allegations against Yahoo. [via CNet]

by MacNN Staff



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