Yahoo! fires! patent! lawsuit! at! Facebook!

You're not really trying unless you're suing someone


As rumored late last month, Yahoo! has filed a lawsuit against Facebook, alleging – what else? – patent infringement.

Apparently feeling left out of all the fun currently being enjoyed by the legal teams of Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Motorola, Symantec, Oracle and others, Yahoo!'s hired guns filed suit on Monday in a San José, California, federal court, alleging that Facebook was infringing on 10 patents related to "methods and systems for advertising on the Web," according to a Reuters report.

"We're disappointed that Yahoo, a longtime business partner of Facebook and a company that has substantially benefited from its association with Facebook, has decided to resort to litigation," Facebook spokesman Jonathan Thaw told Reuters.

Yahoo! – of course – sees things differently. "Unfortunately, the matter with Facebook remains unresolved and we are compelled to seek redress in federal court," the company said in an emailed statement.

The matter to which Yahoo! is referring involves the inability of the two companies to come to an agreement over licensing of Yahoo! patents for not only advertising, as Monday's Reuters report suggests, but also website personalization, social networking, and messaging, according to a report in The New York Times late last month, which predicted that the lawsuit was on its way.

Interestingly, the global law firm retained by Yahoo! to handle the suit, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, is also the firm that Google has used in its Android patent-infringment lawsuits. On its website, Quinn Emanuel notes that "Over 50% of our practice is intellectual property litigation," and lists 112 attorneys in that branch of its practice.

"We are one of the leading go-to firms for 'bet the company' patent litigation and have an unmatched record of success," boasts Quinn Emanuel's website, citing such tech clients as AOL, Belkin, Cisco, D-Link, DirecTV, Electronic Arts, HTC, IBM, Motorola, Netgear, Oracle, Samsung, Sony, and others. Many others.

Last year, Quinn Emanual obtained a reversal of a advertising patent ruling that was set to cost Yahoo! $12m, and in 2010 they successfully defended both Yahoo! and Google in a quintet of patent-infringement suits.

Monday's filing, Reuters reports, notes that Facebook was considered "one of the worst performing sites for advertising" before the social-networking giant adopted – but didn't license – Yahoo's ideas.

"Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, has conceded that the design of Facebook is not novel and is based on the ideas of others," the lawsuit says. ®


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