Facebook files Counterclaims against Yahoo

The Facebook and Yahoo patent battle continues. Just last week Facebook answered the Yahoo complaint of patent infringement and issued the Facebook counterclaims.

Facebook claims that Yahoo is infringing on 10 patents that Facebook now owns.

Of course these counterclaims probably would never have been asserted had it not been for the fact that Yahoo sued Facebook. (Facebook Counterclaim filed PDF).

Facebook is about to go public and it logical to assume the Yahoo strategy of filing the law suit at this time would be to put pressure on Facebook to settle the Patent law suit quickly before the Facebook public offering.

But Facebook has not shown any inclination to settle and fired back with infringement claims of its own. These claims may be the leverage in settlement negotiation that will even the playing field. One doesn’t get a great settlement if you fold your cards early in the game. 

Amy Miller from Law Technology News reported that Facebook general counsel Theodore Ullyot said in an emailed statement:

"From the outset, we said we would defend ourselves vigorously against Yahoo’s lawsuit, and today we filed our answer as well as counter-claims against Yahoo for infringing ten of Facebook’s patents. "While we are asserting patent claims of our own, we do so in response to Yahoo’s short-sighted decision to attack one of its partners and prioritize litigation over innovation."

Ten Facebook patents cited in the counterclaim:

  1. 6216133 Method for enabling a user to fetch a specific information item
  2. 6236978 System for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications
  3. 6288717 Headline posting algorithm
  4. 6411949 Customizing database information for presentation w/media selections
  5. 7603331 Method for dynamic profiling of users in one-to-one applications
  6. 7827208 Generating a feed of stories personalized for members of a social network
  7. 7945653 Tagging digital media
  8. 8005896 System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network
  9. 8150913 System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network
  10. 8103611 Architectures, systems, apparatus, methods, and computer-readable medium for providing recommendations to users and applications using multidimensional data

Three of the Facebook patents  were invented by Facebook engineers, and the patent  for Tagging digital media was co-invented by Mark Zuckerberg

The remaining patents were acquired from New York University, IPG Electronics, and Cheah IP LLC. The patent for "System for controlled distribution of user profiles over a network" is so new that it was only was assigned to Facebook in March and granted on April 3, 2012.

The counterclaims assert that specific pages on the Yahoo website infringe the above listed patents. Here are a few examples of uses of innovation by Yahoo that allegedly infringed patents now owned by Facebook:

  • Photostream,
  • Recent Activity and Groups Activity,
  • People in Photos feature on the Yahoo!
  • Flickr photo sharing service,
  • Yahoo! Home Page, and
  • ads displayed on My Yahoo!

Thanks to MaxVal for providing my daily litigation alert and the actual counterclaim filed by Facebook.

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