#InCaseYouMissedIt: “We got here first” – Yahoo drags Facebook to court over “entire social network model”

by Lekan Olanrewaju.

Who woulda imagined it? The whole plot of The Social Network was a lie all along and Mark Zuckerberg actually stole the idea for Facebook from Yahoo and not his friend. Yes, Yahoo invented Facebook–or at least something like that, if we’re to take their claims seriously.

In a patent infringement lawsuit filed Monday in California, Yahoo claimed “Facebook’s entire social network model is based on Yahoo!’s patented social networking technology.”and much of Facebook’s success is due to them adopting Yahoo’s model

“Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo!’s patented social networking technology.
Prior to adopting Yahoo!’s patented social networking technology in 2008, Facebook was considered one of the worst performing Internet sites for advertising.
Facebook’s use of that social networking model has reportedly dramatically driven up Facebook’s advertising click through rates. For much of the technology upon which Facebook is based, Yahoo! got there first and was therefore granted patents by the United States Patent Office to protect those innovations. Yahoo!’s patents relate to cutting edge innovations in online products, including in messaging, news feed generation, social commenting, advertising display, preventing click fraud, and privacy controls. These innovations dramatically improve user experience, privacy, and security and enhance the ability of advertisers to connect with users.”

The lawsuit lists 10 patents which Yahoo claims Facebook ripped off among which are “Control for enabling a user to preview display of selected content based on another user’s authorization level”, “Dynamic Page Generator” and “System and method for instant messaging using an e-mail protocol”. The suit was reportedly filed after Facebook refused to pay licensing fees which Yahoo demanded.

The lawsuit also states, “Even if Facebook were to subsequently pay past due royalties, it would still enjoy a market share it has developed during its period of ‘free riding’ on Yahoo!’s intellectual property. Yahoo! would likewise lose its portion of the market share for this period. Due to the difficulty in predicting if at all, such market share can be recovered, Yahoo!’s harm cannot be compensated by payment of past due royalties alone.”

No dollar amount in damages is specified in the suit, but Yahoo says whatever amount the court sees fit to be awarded, should be tripled “in view of the willful and deliberate nature of the infringement.”



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